AGF Fagbemi Pledges to Advocate for National Justice Policy in Nigeria

Nigeria's 2024 National Judicial Summit aims to overhaul the justice sector, with reforms to strengthen the rule of law, protect human rights, and support economic development.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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AGF Fagbemi Pledges to Advocate for National Justice Policy in Nigeria

AGF Fagbemi Pledges to Advocate for National Justice Policy in Nigeria

At the opening of the 2024 National Judicial Summit on Justice Sector in Abuja, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi SAN declared that the justice sector under his watch would continue to push for mutuality in the formation and implementation of a national policy on justice reform in Nigeria. The two-day summit, organized by the Federal Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association and the National Judicial Council, aims to address critical challenges in the justice sector and validate the revised National Policy on Justice for 2024-2028.

In his remarks, Fagbemi stated, "The summit offers an opportunity to assess the successes and challenges faced since the previous summits in 2017 and 2022, and to validate and adopt the revised National Policy on Justice for 2024-2028. The policy aims to serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the entire justice system in Nigeria, focusing on promoting and protecting human rights, improving mechanisms for fair and speedy dispensation of justice, and enhancing national security, the rule of law, and socio-economic development."

President Bola Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, stressed the importance of continued reforms in the justice sector. He called for a functional justice delivery system that will aid a fast-growing economy, guarantee basic human and political rights, and provide security and justice to all Nigerians. Tinubu also highlighted his administration's efforts to reposition the judiciary, including doubling the funding for the judiciary in the Renewed Hope budget 2024 and increasing the salaries and emoluments of judges.

Why this matters: The National Summit on Justice 2024 represents a significant step towards overhauling Nigeria's justice sector and ensuring a more effective, fair, and accessible justice system for all citizens. The adoption of a revised National Policy on Justice has the potential to drive transformative changes that will strengthen the rule of law, protect human rights, and support Nigeria's socio-economic development.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio proposed several reforms to streamline the judicial process, such as discouraging interlocutory appeals, dispensing with the AGF's consent for the execution of judgments attaching funds in government custody, and reviewing the manner in which ex parte orders are granted. Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola acknowledged that justice remains a distant reality for many Nigerians and called upon judicial officers to critically examine the legal framework and pursue legislative reforms. The summit aims to deliberate on ways to reduce the time taken for adjudication of cases and the number of cases reaching the Supreme Court, as well as discuss other pressing issues affecting the judiciary.

Key Takeaways

  • AGF Fagbemi aims to push for mutuality in national justice reform policy.
  • 2024 National Judicial Summit to validate revised National Policy on Justice.
  • Tinubu pledges to reposition judiciary, increase funding and judges' salaries.
  • Akpabio proposes reforms to streamline judicial process, including limiting appeals.
  • CJN Ariwoola acknowledges justice remains distant for many Nigerians.