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Tinubu to Judiciary: Our justice system must embark on reforms to protect human rights, provide security, enforce rule of law

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.As Akpabio tasks judiciary on sustainable reforms.



Chigozie Ikpo, and Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has tasked the nation’s Judiciary to embark on reforms that would ensure a functional justice system that will protect the human rights of Nigerians, support a rapidly growing economy, as well as provide security and justice to all Nigerians.

Tinubu gave the charge on Wednesday when he declared open the National Summit on Justice, 2024, held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

According to him, much can be achieved when institutions of government, including the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, unite to acknowledge their challenges and brainstorm with a view to proffering solutions to the problems bedeviling Nigeria.

The President who was represented at the event by Vice President Kashim Shettima, urged the judiciary to align its activities within the tenets of his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda, particularly as they relate “to the priorities on inclusivity, fairness, rule of law, and anti-corruption stance, among other things”.

Noting that his administration had pledged to be impartial and adhere to constitutional principles, Tinubu said the Summit availed institutions in the justice sector “with an opportunity to push boundaries by identifying needed system changes and critical reforms that would allow Nigerians to reap the benefits of huge investments in the sector.”

Delivering the President’s address at the event, Shettima explained that the federal government is determined to implement its policies and promises made to Nigerians for a renewed hope, through the instrumentality of the “law and the dictates of justice to create opportunities for our people”.


Outlining the preliminary measures he took in order to reposition the Judiciary in the bid to support a just and rules-based Nigeria, President Tinubu recalled that his administration made funding for the third arm of government a top priority, doubling it in the Renewed Hope budget 2024 by more that 100 per cent from last year’s budget.

He listed other efforts his government has made to reposition the Judiciary to include full complement of 21 Justices of the Supreme Court as required by law for the first time after many years, and his approval of “a substantial increase in the salaries and emoluments of judges, which is currently undergoing legislative action.”

The President noted however that despite progress being made in the justice sector, there “is an urgent need for a functional justice system capable of supporting a rapidly growing economy, guaranteeing basic human and political rights of individuals, and providing security and justice to all.

“Justice sector leaders and professionals need to find the right responses to the challenges we face through policy innovation, citizen-centered reform, systems change, and legislative reform, where necessary.

“I accordingly urge the leadership of all justice sector institutions to seek a new direction and focus on outcomes by creating a justice system that truly responds to the needs of our citizens – one that serves Nigerians now and for generations to come.

“I demand informed and coordinated responses to the identified challenges plaguing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector. I demand performance so that Nigerians can feel and acknowledge the impact of your reform efforts. Ultimately, the expectations are that law and justice should aim to ensure public safety, economic development, peaceful co-existence, and the well-being of our people.” he said.

Also speaking, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has urged the Nigerian Judiciary to evolve a blueprint for the transformative changes needed to enhance judicial efficiency and ensure the fair administration of justice across the nation.

Senator Akpabio made the call at the opening ceremony of a two-day Summit on “Enhancing Justice Delivery in Nigeria” organized by the Federal Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other international development partners in Abuja.

A statement by the Special Assistant on Media/Communication to the Senate President, Anietie Ekong, quoted Senator Akpabio to have said that the “collaborative efforts of stakeholders will shape the strategic direction of Nigeria’s justice system, making it more robust, accessible, and equitable.”

According to him, “In the coming months, I will invite my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to deliberate on these proposals with the gravity and diligence they deserve.

“Together, with the insights and support of the judiciary, legal experts, and the Nigerian populace, we will embark on this legislative journey to enshrine these reforms into law.

“This is more than legislative duty; it is our moral imperative to fortify the foundation of our nation’s justice system for present and future generations. I look forward to productive discussions and to the eventual realization of these reforms, ensuring a just, equitable, and prosperous society for all.

“I will not be telling the truth if I say that we at the National Assembly are not aware of the delays and backlogs plaguing our courts, which not only deny timely justice but undermine faith in our judicial system.

“These delays harm our society’s most vulnerable and create an environment where justice is seen as inaccessible and inefficient. In an era where technology has transformed so many sectors, it is critical that we harness its potential within our judicial processes to enhance speed and transparency.


“We are committed to budgeting for the implementation of judicial reforms that will include the adoption of digital tools to manage cases more effectively and ensure that justice is neither delayed nor denied.

“This journey requires collective effort. I call upon all stakeholders, including my colleagues in both legislative and executive branches, as well as the judiciary itself, to support these vital reforms. Together, we can build a justice system that is fit for the 21st century,” he said.

On his part, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Okukayode Ariwoola, said given expectations from the judiciary, undertaking a holistic reform of the sector had become necessary, noting that “constitutional, statutory and operational reforms in the justice sector is imperative in meeting the aspirations and yearnings of the general public.”

The CJN attributed most of the achievements recorded in the judiciary to the support of the Tinubu administration, particularly in the enhancement of the welfare of judicial officers and improvement in their working environment.

In his welcome address, The Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, said that the justice sector under his watch would continue to push for mutuality in the formation and implementation of the national policy on justice.

“At this summit we will validate and adopt the revised National Policy on Justice, 2024-2028 which is the product of extensive research work and consultations undertaken by critical stakeholders in the Justice Sector.

“Although, the draft policy itself is an ambitious document which aims to serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the entire justice system in Nigeria’’.

According to him, this is an opportunity to have a comprehensive assessment, review and consideration of issues militating against effective administration of justice in Nigeria.

“There will be a well-articulated broad road map of initiatives, actions and responsibilities for addressing and repositioning the justice sector to effectively and efficiently discharge its duties in enhancing national security: upholding the rule of law, promoting the protection of human rights, democratic principles and the socio-economic development of our nation.

“It also seeks to improve mechanisms for fair and speedy dispensation of justice; detention and correctional services; restorative justice; alternative dispute resolution (ADR) – developing Nigeria into an arbitration hub on the continent; commerce and economic activities; compliance with treaty obligations; synergy and cooperation across the justice sector; and independence of the judiciary; among others,” he said.

On his part, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau, commended leaders in the justice sector for convening the summit and noted that reforming practices and mechanism for operations in the sector was critical to the overall economic transformation of the country.

In his keynote address, a former Chief Justice of Kenya, Dr Willy Mutunga, looked at constitutional and overall justice sector reforms in Kenya and Nigeria and repositioning for an African justice system.

Analysing issues in the Kenyan and Nigerian justice sectors, specifically citing the Sharia law system in Nigeria, Dr Mutunga said the development of a jurisprudence that is African-based will go a long way in reinstating confidence of the people in the judiciary.

The event was well attended by top dignitaries, including the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq; Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Barau Jibrin.

Others are, Ministers of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammad Idris; Interior, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa; Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede; Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig.- Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd), and Chief Judges from the states, among others.

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