Buhari Slams Judges, Lawyers for killing Fight Against Corruption
LAGOS JULY 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has accused Judges and lawyers of killing his war against corruption by using all manner of tactics to either delay or free suspects.
Voicing his disappointment at the way the judiciary and lawyers approach his avowed fight against corruption in the country, Buhari challenged them to remove all cogs in the wheel and swiftly prosecute offenders.
In his words: “I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers.”
President Buhari at an International Workshop On The Role Of The Judiciary In The Fight Against Corruption, July 18, 2016 At The National Judicial Institute, Abuja, called on all stake holders to join him in the fight against corruption.
Buhari who called the participants “stakeholders in this national fight against corruption in Nigeria” stated that it is critically important that the sacred duty of the judiciary to ensure that criminal justice administration is not delayed.
“When cases are not concluded the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they should in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law. This certainly needs to change if we are to make success in our collective effort in the fight against corruption.”
President Buhari stated that he has “made the fight against corruption one of the top priorities of my administration in the hope of restoring the economy and build a new Nigeria. In the face of dwindling revenues and in a bid at repositioning ?Nigeria’s economy, it became obligatory to swiftly tackle two ills; waste and corruption.”
“The eradication of corruption is a joint task involving not only judges and members of the legal profession, but literally all stakeholders, including all branches of Government, the media and the civil society. The challenge is to come up with an integrated approach that balances process
and substance, promote clarity to ensure a coherent and realistic formulation of objectives.
“To this end, the Judiciary is under a duty to keep its house in order and to ensure that the public, which it serves, sees this. Thus, we cannot expect to make any gains in the war against corruption in our society when the judiciary is seen as being distant from the crusade. This will not augur well and its negative effect will impact all sectors of society. The judiciary must fight delay of cases in court as well as it fights corruption in its own ranks, perceived or otherwise. We expect to see less tolerance to delay tactics used by defense lawyers or even the prosecution
in taking cases to conclusion.”
President Buhari commended the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, the National Judicial Institute, the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat for conceiving “such an important and timely workshop and making it happen”.
He stated that the “workshop is important and timely not only because far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remains one of the key priorities of this administration but also because it offers us a unique opportunity to interact and agree on the basic tenets and guiding principles that will
make our efforts acceptable to all right thinking people.”
While recognizing the efforts of the judiciary’s fight against corruption, Buhari however stated that, “the responsibility of the judiciary in a democratic society such as ours is a critical one. It is one of the three pillars of the modern democratic nation state and is essential to the process of checks and balances, which is so fundamental to the way societies such as ours are meant to operate and function. This apparent function that the Judiciary plays is undeniably one of the cornerstones of any effective strategy against corruption.”
He admitted “that corruption is a global phenomenon occurring in almost all countries in the world”, but “the problem is much more pronounced in some countries than others but more complicated in developing countries. It has now become clear that corruption is one of the main obstacles to peace, stability, sustainable development, democracy, and human rights
around the globe.”
“A corrupt judicial system not only violates the basic right to equality before the law but also deny procedural rights guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
“Where judicial corruption occurs, the damage can be pervasive and extremely difficult to reverse. It undermines citizens’ morale, violates their human rights, harms national development and depletes the quality of governance”, Buhari stated.