The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Tuesday called for collaboration between all relevant agencies of the Federal Government for the war against corruption and other related crimes to succeed.
Justice Mohammed spoke at a workshop on ‘combating financial fraud, cyber and cross-border crimes’ in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who also spoke at the event, said he was currently working with the judiciary to ensure the success of government’s efforts to end impunity in the land.
Malami also said, “more than $2tn has been confiscated and recovered’ in the last 12 years by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”
Speaking, the CJN said the prompt disposal of criminal cases could only be achieved where “stakeholders in the justice sector work in tandem towards a common objective as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
The CJN’s speech came on the heel of a comment credited to President Muhammadu Buhari who was quoted to have in faraway Ethiopia said that the judiciary was his only “headache” in his fight against corruption.
Justice Mohammed said any efforts to end impunity in the country must first consider and prioritise reforms of the nation’s laws.
He said reform efforts must begin with the establishment of the Administrative of justice Commission as provided for in the Administration of Justice Commission Act, 1991.
He added, “The justice sector must be better coordinated and develop synergistic avenues for the exchange of information and best practices. It is time to leave the rhetoric behind and take visible steps forward in this fight against transnational crimes.
“I believe that if we work in harmony and in sincerity of purpose towards concrete outcomes, then, the efforts that we make will doubtless create a butterfly effect of positive change that is so sorely required in the justice sector.
“Achieving success in fighting fraud, cybercrime and other cross-border crimes depends on all stakeholders working together towards developing intelligent initiatives, which will result in tangible and pragmatic solutions to ending and ridding ourselves of these emerging crimes.”
Malami lamented the negative impact of corruption, fraud, cyber and other cross-border crimes on the nation’s growth efforts.
He assured Nigerians that the reforms efforts being championed by the Justice Ministry under his watch, were intended to lead to an improved anti-corruption and criminal justice system for the country.
Malami said, “I am already working closely with the judicial leadership. In the past few weeks, my team and I have held several interactions with the Chief Justice of Nigeria and other judicial leaders. While the discussions are still ongoing on the best way the Federal Ministry of Justice can support the work of the Judiciary, we are hopeful that we will work in a manner that will reduce delay of complex cases, and improve justice delivery for ordinary Nigerians without compromising the rights to fair hearing.
“The essence is to establish a ‘collaborative buy-in’ between the Executive and the Judiciary in consensus building in the fight against corruption and organised crimes.”
The British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, expressed confidence in President Buhari’s commitment to curbing corruption and impunity in the country.