The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has assured Federal Government’s commitment to the rule of law, fighting corruption and other social vices which have hindered the development of the country. Malami made this known during the opening ceremony for the Federal Ministry of Justice Top Management Retreat in Kano during the weekend.
The theme of the retreat: “Enhancing Systems and Structures in the Federal Ministry of Justice for effective Justice Sector Service Delivery”. Malami emphasized that President Muhammadu Buhari would not relent in his efforts to free the country from corrupt practices in line with the rule of law.
According to the HAGF, “the retreat provides opportunity for review and self-assessment of the ministry’s achievements so far, identifying the challenges and areas requiring revitalization, in order to come up with innovative ideas to enhance effective service delivery”. He said, “ …in this retreat, Legal experts and management professionals will share their wealth of knowledge, experience and keep us abreast with contemporary issues that could support us in actualizing this mandate”. “The Ministry of Justice is a legacy Ministry that succeeded the Colonial Legal Department, thereby, making it one of the oldest Ministries in Nigeria that came into existence at independence in 1960″, Malami explained
He noted that the Mission and Vision of the Ministry aptly captures what duty the nation entails, which included “sustenance of a healthy relationship between all arms and tiers of government and making Justice
accessible to all”. He stated that, “The Ministry is cardinal to the agenda of the government to build a strong and diversified economy, improve infrastructure and combat the twin malaise of corruption and insecurity. Our duties as State Counsel or administrators are an amalgamation of law and policy”. He said, “When Federal Government came up with the issue of fight against corruption and justice sector reform, Kano followed suit. So also, in the area of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) strengthening system.”
Malami said the state needed to be commended for all the success recorded in the justice sector, having matched federal government in the area of
infrastructural development in the judiciary. While assuring that, the choice of Kano was not accidental, he noted that, “Kano has consolidated the spirit of the Retreat. We are not disappointed for our choice of Kano for the Retreat.” The Minister disclosed that the ministry was lucky to have saved the Country from total Economic Collapse which would have been brought about if P&ID had succeeded in enforcing an arbitral award of over US$10billion USD on the country.
Malami added that the Ministry had also ensured the restoration of the nation to the path of growth and development through the settlement of the multi-billion-dollar adverse claims on Ajaokuta Steel Plant. He stated, “Our asset recovery drive has secured the sum of US$322million which enabled the Federal Government to embark on empowerment programs which has taken over 100 million persons out of poverty as part of the national social investment programs.
Malami said, “The sum of US$311million recovered funds were deployed into critical infrastructural projects such as the Abuja-Kano and Lagos-Ibadan Expressways as well as the Second Niger Bridge”. Speaking on security, he disclosed, “we have provided support for addressing security challenges (through the proscription of terrorist groups) so as to pave way for legitimate military onslaught and deployment of military hardware, prosecute and defend high-profile cases involving insurgent or separatist groups, terrorism financiers, among others”.
The HAGF stated that the Ministry’s legal interventions for the advancement of appropriate security measures invariably represented the contribution to providing an enabling environment for economic development in the country. The Justice Minister stated further that there is no doubt that there is a relationship between law and development, whereby law is seen as a standard/framework for achieving and measuring development.
Malami expressed appreciation to development partners, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) – British Council for their worthy interventions over the years towards the enforcement and reform of laws and policies as well as capacity building for institutions.
Delivering his speech, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje said as part of the efforts to improve justice service delivery through alternative dispute resolution, the state had enacted the Kano State Justice Reform Law 2013.
Represented by his Deputy Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, said the retreat is aimed at improving access to justice particularly vulnerable groups, such as women, children, persons with disability as well as inmates. “The state government in its efforts to increase access to justice created a Citizens Right department as well as Sexual Abuse Referral Centre. “The department receives complaints on commercial transaction, marriage and fostering among others”
He appealed to the Minister to post more Legal Aid Counsel to Kano Office to enable them assist the state for effective and fairness of Justice Delivery. “We have established a Committee on the Administration of Justice. “That is why we put a strategy to see how we can decongest our Correctional Centres across the state as directed by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Earlier in her welcome address, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, stated that the retreat will form the bedrock for the formation of constructive, cohesive and durable strategies. “This retreat will help guide the ministry policy programs to enhance organizational, effectiveness, responsiveness and reliance. “Justice Service delivery is a panacea for peace, stability, economic growth and development”, Jedy-Agba said. “We are trying to assist the Judiciary, so that the administration of justice can be in compliance with the global best practice. That is part of the reason why we are also making the sector to be digital.”
In his address the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Hon. Ugonna Ozurigo, stated that the effective justice delivery is at the Centre of democracy in any society, adding that any efforts geared towards its sustainability is an effort in the right direction and a precursor to delivering the dividend of democracy. Represented by Hon. Dr. Abubakar Ahmed Yunusa, he expressed confidence that the retreat would consider reform issues and address same as a panacea to deepening democracy in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, RoLAC Company Manager, Mr. Oluwatosin Badejogbin, said that the meeting would provide the opportunity to look back and evaluate collective efforts and achievements in developing Nigeria’s Justice Sector.
Giving his Virtual goodwill address, the UNODC Country Representative, Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Stolpe said that the Federal Ministry of Justice over the years had been the most partners with the UNODC. He expressed his confidence that the retreat would provide further strategic direction to the work of the Ministry in such a way that it will give UNODC the best guidance on how best to align with their activities to overall strategic objectives of the Ministry.
The retreat was attended by top management staff of the ministry, Attorney Generals of Kano, Lagos, Nassarawa State, UNODC, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) and other Stakeholders.