Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad yesterday tackled the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami over his scathing remarks about the judiciary.
The CJN rejected the AGF’s claim that the Judiciary is not transparent and that it has been responsible for the delay in justice administration.
Speaking last week in Abuja at the 2020 Justice Sector Summit organised by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Malami joined others in demanding that the Judiciary should be more open in its financial dealings and ensure prompt adjudication of cases.
But Justice Muhammad described the AGF’s unprovoked attack on the Judiciary as unwarranted.
The CJN’s response was contained in a statement by his media aide Ahuraka Yusuf Isah.
The statement reads: “The position of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the judiciary be held responsible for delays in the trial and delivery of judgements on corruption cases involving politically exposed individuals appears to be one-sided.
“The Nigerian judiciary is not here to lay claim to be perfect but when the political and economic conditions under which it is operating is compared with its counterparts in other climes, it would be adjudged a prized model.
“The judiciary by its constitutional position does not have criminal investigation unit or ‘Fraud Detective Squad’ to detect and investigate criminal involvement of any person, neither does it have a garrison command to fight its cause or enforce its orders and decisions.
“More often than not, the Federal Government’s prosecution sector files more charges than it can prove or provide witnesses to prove, ostensibly at times for the prosecution to even fail.
“The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) under reference is infected with sores in some parts, making speeding adjudications improbable in some instances, in addition to high volume of cases, limited number of judges, poor infrastructure or archaic equipment.
“While giving reasons for its under-funding of the judiciary, the Federal Government said on January 26, 2022, at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Justice Sector Summit 2022 in Abuja) that judiciary has not been transparent in the spending of budgets allocated to it each fiscal year.