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Judiciary: Revised National Policy on Justice, adopted for a more efficient, equitable justice system for Nigerians – Ajibade, SAN

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade said the Revised National Policy on Justice, will provide a more efficient, and equitable justice system for all Nigerians and bring about the much-needed reforms in the judicial sector.

Dr. Ajibade made this known on Friday in Abuja during a media briefing in respect to the two-day National Summit on Justice which held in Abuja, aimed at repositioning the Nigerian justice system as well as enhancing greater efficiency in justice administration.

The Senior Lawyer who was chairman of the Joint Planning Committee of the summit said the national policy on justice 2024 – 2028 which was a proposal has now been adopted after consultations initiated by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), where the draft policy was reviewed and validated.

“The national policy on justice was adopted as proposed, it will now serve as a roadmap, paving the way for a more efficient, equitable and responsive justice system for all Nigerians,” Ajibade said.

Presenting the communique on behalf of the committee, Ajibade highlighted that the Judicial appointment process, access to funding and eradication of delays in the administration of justice, were the key issues the summit tried to find solutions to.

He said “One of three technical sessions on day one, focused on judicial appointments and selection as an area of concern and the specific themes examined, were, assessing the performance of the National Judicial Council in discharging his responsibility for judicial appointments into the Superior Courts of record, examining the structure and role of the State Judicial Service Commission’s in the judicial appointments process and examining the philosophical underpinnings of the judicial appointments process, structural and constitutional dimensions as well as the proposals for Constitutional and legislative reform.

“The general consensus reached by the panel was that the role of the NJC in discharging his responsibility for judicial appointments into the Superior Court of record required significant review. There was a concern expressed about the fact that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is the chairman of the NJC is also the chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, which is the body that initially reviews proposals or lists of candidates by appointment into judicial office.

“The members pointed out the seeming inconsistency between the chief justice of Nigeria playing both those roles, as it would appear that he was then recommending candidates to himself being chairman of both bodies, and being the person who appoints a significant number of the members of both bodies other than those who are statutory members.

“The summit also resolved that there is a significant need for reform in the performance of the roles of the state judicial Service commission to ensure that, the composition is more diverse, that it reflects the interests of the users of the justice sector.
It emphasized the fact that the focus should be on improved transparency in the appointment process, a focus on meritocracy and a focus on meaningful performance evaluations of those who seek judicial office.

“There is a clear consensus on the need to professionalise the administration of the courts, acknowledging the fact that judges are by their training, not first in administration or management, but are trained to adjudicate over cases.

“The summit considered the importance of limiting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and ensuring that matters that would go to the Supreme Court would only be matters of significant national importance. And even at that would only be by the leader of the Supreme Court, and that the automatic right of appeal to the Supreme Court will be severely curtailed and will be limited only to matters relating to the office and the election into the office of the president and Vice President.

“The consensus at the end of the summit was that issues raised were topical and significant and there’s was a commitment by the honourable Attorney General and there was a need to engage as quickly as possible in converting these discussions and resolutions into draft legislation that will be presented to the National Assembly for inclusion in the ongoing constitution review process, and also for non constitutional related legislation to be implemented almost immediately.” He added.


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