The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has called on senior lawyers and judicial officers to be of high rectitude.
Magu made the call at a forum titled: “Public Discourse on Justice Delivery in Nigeria: “A Framework for Reform,” organized in Abuja by Justice Reform Project, JRP.
According to Magu, “Irrespective of what the challenges are in the judiciary, senior lawyers and particularly judicial officers must be of high rectitude, and must be seen to be so.” The contrary he said, “spells hopelessness and doom for the society.”
The EFCC boss noted that lawyers and judges complement the work of the EFCC, stating that the Commission and the judiciary are partners in progress.
“The increasing successes we are achieving as a Commission in the areas of convictions, asset forfeiture and recovery and in all aspects of our anti-corruption fight would not have been possible without judicial officers and legal practitioners doing their own bit,” he noted.
Speaking further, he said: “Your decision to make me part of today’s event has been rewarding for me, especially your expert perspectives on the common issues that confront us all in our legal system and the judiciary.
“I wish to state at this juncture that the judiciary is central to the work we do in the EFCC, both bar and the bench are our partners in progress.”
While observing that the Commission has prosecuted judicial officers and senior lawyers and earned conviction, he assured that his respect for the bench and senior members of the bar remained undiminished.
He lauded the positive impacts of the 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act in enabling the wheel of justice delivery in the country, and called on state governments to emulate the Lagos State government in establishing courts that will be designated for economic and financial crimes commission cases, noting that both have helped in the quicker dispensation of justice in corruption cases.
“In February 1, 2018, the Lagos State government inaugurated two courts, designated for economic and financial crimes Commission cases. These two developments (inclusive of 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act) have in no small measure helped in the quick dispensation of justice in corruption cases and the increasing convictions we have been able to secure as anti-graft entity.
“In the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, we crave that all other states of the federation would emulate Lagos State in this direction. Doing so falls in line with the Commission’s Establishment Act,” Magu said.
On her part, Mrs. Funke Adekoye, SAN, called for the sanitisation of the judicial system, through imposition of sanctions on legal practitioners who are found to have unnecessarily delayed the arguing of cases as well as judges who are slow to give judgments.
Adekoye also canvassed the publishing of names of aspiring judges by government in national dailies for public moral assessment of their characters. “By so doing, bad eggs will be weeded out of the race”, she said.
The JRP is a new professional interventionist initiative in the Nigerian judiciary, facilitated by 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, drawn across the geo-political divides of the country.