Corruption: Judges, Lawyers Deploying Delay Tactics In Criminal Justice System – Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Corruption: Judges, Lawyers Deploying Delay Tactics In Criminal Justice System – Buhari

Niger Delta, Buhari, Defence, Osun
Posted: Jul 18, 2016 at 5:39 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Innocent Oweh

Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, took a swipe on the judicial arm of government, accusing lawyers and judges of employing delay tactics to frustrate cases of corruption instituted before it.

He said this persistent challenge was hindering the criminal justice system in the country.

The President also said his penchant to fight the menace of corruption in the country, was based on the realization that corruption was one of the main obstacles to peace, stability, sustainable development, democracy, and human rights around the globe.

He told legal luminaries present at the workshop not to view the battle against graft as a solo assignment by the executive arm of government but must incorporate the efforts of all and sundry.

He spoke at an international conference organised by the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, which centered on the theme,” Role of the Judiciary in the Fight Against Corruption”.

According to the President, it was incumbent on the judiciary to analyze facts based on the applicable law without prejudice and penchant regarding the case they are dealing with, and without acting in any way that would favor the interests of any of the parties.

He said, “The eradication of corruption is a joint task involving not only judges and members of the legal profession, but literally all stakeholders, including all branches of Government, the media and the civil society. The challenge is to come up with an integrated approach that balances process and substance, promote clarity to ensure a coherent and realistic formulation of objectives.

“Its the sacred duty of the judiciary to ensure that criminal justice administration are not delayed.

“I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers.

“When cases are not concluded the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they should in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law.

“This certainly needs to change if we are to make success in our collective effort in the fight against corruption”.

Buhari while delivering his lecture reminded the judiciary that in carrying out its role in the fight against corruption, it must remain impartial and most importantly, be seen to be impartial.

He said where judicial corruption occurs, the damage can be pervasive and extremely difficult to reverse. It undermines citizens’ morale, violates their human rights, harms national development and depletes the quality of governance.

“As gate-keepers of the law, the judiciary must maintain its absolute independence. Judges should hear and handle their assigned cases without any external pressure or influence either by state powers, or by their hierarchical superiors, stakeholders or economic interest groups.

“It must also take steps to ensure that it is not seen as being partisan. As such, it must be aware of the sensitivities of the public and take steps towards avoiding even the shred of a doubt as regards its independence.

“In justice, integrity is a necessity. Hence, Judicial Officers and all other members of this sector must always demonstrate manifest integrity. In other words, the Judiciary should be in the forefront of efforts to develop rights based jurisprudence as an element in the multi-disciplinary approach advocated in the fight against corruption.

“It does have a role to play in the fight against corruption by enforcing the applicable laws.

“As we are all aware, I have made the fight against corruption one of the top priorities of my administration in the hope of restoring the economy and build a new Nigeria.

“In the face of dwindling revenues and in a bid at repositioning ?Nigeria’s economy, it became obligatory to swiftly tackle two ills; waste and corruption”.