Justice Onnoghen seeks public support in anti-corruption war, sets up special courts

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has ordered all heads of courts in the federation to compile and forward the lists of all corruption and financial crimes cases in their courts.

Justice Onnoghen also directed them to designate one or two courts in their jurisdiction as Special Courts for the hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crimes cases.

The CJN, who reiterated the pegging of legal appearances for each party to five, announced the major reforms in the criminal justice system yesterday in Abuja during the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to 29 senior lawyers.

He said, to effectively monitor and enforce the new policy, an Anti-Corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee will be set up at the next meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

He said the committee would, among other responsibilities, ensure that “both Trial and Appellate Courts handling corruption and financial crime cases key into and abide by our renewed efforts at ridding our Country of the canker worm.”

The CJN also directed all heads of courts to clamp down on lawyers who deploy delay tactics in criminal matters before them.

He said the Supreme Court considered 1, 362 in the 2016/2017 legal year, while 243 judgments were delivered.

He solicited the cooperation of the public in the anti-corruption war, and advised litigants, advocates and the public to refrain from making unsubstantiated and malicious allegations/complaints against judicial officers.

“We are under no illusion that the fight against corruption would be an easy one, as we are already aware that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back; but we are determined to win it,” he said.

He told the new SANs that the rank is a privilege, which can be withdrawn if abused.

Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) said Nigeria currently faces serious political and constitutional challenges from different sectors.

“In view of its role as the ultimate arbiter of disputes in our polity there is no doubt that this Court will be increasingly required, in the coming year, to interpret and adjudicate on various matters affecting the sustenance of our national values and the sanctity of our political system,” he said.

In his response on behalf of the new SANs, Elder C.A.N. Nwokeukwu (SAN) promised that the new silks will live up to the expectation of Nigerians.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, whose younger brother, Akinlolu Osinbajo, was among the 29 lawyers conferred with the prestigious rank.

Other dignitaries at the event were former Vice President, Alex Ekw

 

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Godwin Okafor is a financial journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and the Founder Naija247news Media Ltd He has over 16 experiences in journalism, which cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career in Business Day, Where he was a senior editorial graphic artist, before he left to start Naija247news, An Online Financial Newspaper in 2010. He has won series of awards and he is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.com and also sits on the board of Students In Business Awards, (SIBA).

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