“We have a Brilliant AGF in Lateef Fagbemi SAN. He is a very good colleague and I have the highest confidence in his abilities”. These are the words of former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and human rights lawyer, Dr Olisa Agbakoba SAN as Fagbemi takes the oath of office today as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Agbakoba who said that there are urgent reforms to be carried out in the administration of justice system and the judiciary expresses confidence in the ability of the new Justice minister to carry out the reforms. “I am convinced this will be a simple task for him.”, he enthused.
He said: “There are pressing tasks to be carried out urgently by the new Attorney General of the Federation. Major reforms of the criminal justice system with particular reference to the utter confusion in the duplicated work of our law enforcement agencies in particular EFCC and ICPC is urgently needed. Also there is need to unbundle EFCC and restrict them to investigation only while a new National Prosecution Agency ought to be established;
Another key reform would be a complete decentralized Police Force at local state and Federal levels. Major revamp of our outdated laws is urgently needed to follow the Rwanda example that modified 1000 laws. Last but not least the AGF must work on Speed of Justice. It’s a crying shame it takes upwards of 15 years to conclude cases from the High court to the Supreme Court;
Finally but not exhausted is to create sector specific dispute resolution Agencies to free up the utterly cluttered dockets of the regular courts;
The other very important task before the Attorney General will be the unnecessary and wholly inefficient matter of over centralization of our superior courts. There is no better time than now to hack down the highly centralized Court systems in Nigeria. The AGF is invited to consider major constitutional amendments to create a system of Federal and State Courts. State Courts ought to have exclusive Jurisdiction over matters related to them. This is also the case for Federal Courts whose Jurisdiction must be limited to Federal causes. This will free up the Clutter at the Supreme Court and make it the Policy Court it ought to be in the first place;
We have a Brilliant AGF in Lateef Fagbemi SAN. Am convinced this will be a simple task for him. He is a very good colleague and I have the highest confidence in his abilities”.
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