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Lack of political will hampers corruption fight, says CJN Mahmud Mohammed

01/12/2015 11:53

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has identified the lack of political will as a major setback in the prosecution of high profile corruption cases.

According to a statement by Justice Mohammed's media aide, Mr. Ahuraka Isah, on Monday, the CJN said this during a meeting with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), alongside other Justices of the Supreme Court and the heads of federal courts.

The CJN said during the meeting that the delay suffered by many high profile cases was not caused by lack of special courts but lack of political will to prosecute such cases.

Justice Mohammed said, "Experience within the judiciary shows that there is an abject lack of political will to prosecute some of those cases pending before our various courts, almost a decade in some instances.

"It is not because there are no special courts, but mostly for reasons of political expedience and other ancillary considerations."

The CJN advised the AGF to recruit more lawyers, who should be adequately trained to handle more cases on behalf of the Federal Government as this, according to him, "will create a reservoir of highly trained, public-spirited lawyers to feed the Bench and the Bar."

The CJN also advised the executive arm of government to actively reform and revamp the justice sector by strengthening the capacity of investigation units.

He said such units should be provided with facilities, such as well-equipped forensic and ballistics laboratories throughout Nigeria, in order to aid better evidence gathering and reduce trial times.

He urged Malami to show greater resolve in the prosecution of high profile corruption cases and to revive the culture of the AGF leading the team of government's prosecutors in court.

"I would likewise wish to encourage you (AGF) to display a greater resolve than your predecessors in tackling outstanding cases before the courts. In times past, the Attorney-General of the Federation would often lead teams of legal counsel in high profile cases so as to demonstrate the resolve of the government to enshrine the rule of law.

"Sadly, recent Attorney-Generals have become less inclined to do this. I would certainly like to see you as the Attorney-General appear before us, especially in cases of important national purporse," he said.

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