...Functional judicial system system is critical to economic growth – Ambode
From: Moshood Adebayo
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, lamented delay in the administration of justice in Nigeria, access to justice and quality of justice in the country.
He also disclosed that 67, 586 Awaiting Trials are currently in various prison formations in the country.
Osibanjo, a professor of Law, spoke as a Keynote Speaker at the opening of a 2-day Stakeholders’ Summit on Administration of Justice, organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice with the theme: “Contemporary Trends: Catalysts For Justice Sector Reform,” in Lagos.
He was represented at the event by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
As a result of what he described as worrisome, the Acting President charged stakeholders in the administration of justice to urgently begin to take the issue of delay more seriously and shun all forms of delay tactics.
While urging stakeholders in the justice sector to urgently address the delay in administration of justice, Osibanjo also disclosed that as at 2017, 47,229 awaiting trials out of a total population of 67,586 prisoners in the country.
His words: “It may interest you to note that the highest number of un sentenced detainees in Nigeria as at the end of 2015 based on data released by the national bureau of statisticand the Nigerian Prison Service, Lagos has a total of 6, 522 prisoners out of which 5, 603 are Awaiting Trials”.
This, he said represented 85.9 percent of total prison population and 10.4 percent of Nigeria total prison population.
He also said it was also important for the judiciary to introduce significant costs for delay occasioned especially by lateness, ill-preparedness or deliberate tactics.
He took a swipe at some judges who would not sit on time and rise early and lawyers who file frivolous applications and employ other delay tactics as well as shoddy police investigation, and admonish them to desist from such.
“If we can agree that these problems are against our collective interests as practitioners and stakeholders, then we must make a firm commitment to tackle the problems by changing our attitude and standing up for what is right,” Osinbajo said.
He said even though Nigeria was just clawing its way out of recession, it was gratifying that the Ambode-led administration deemed it important to invest in the summit so as to address some of the institutional challenges preventing the country from developing a first-class justice system in its commercial nerve centre.
In his address, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said for any nation to experience economic growth, it must first have a functional judicial system that would not only encourage local and foreign investors to invest in, but also guarantee conducive environment for such businesses to thrive.
Governor Ambode said experience over the years has shown that societies with equal and unhindered access to justice have a better environment for economic growth and poverty alleviation than those that do not.