President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday asked judges to put structures in place for the proposed special courts to fast-track speedy trial of cases.
Buhari made the call in Abuja while addressing the 2019 All Nigeria Judges Conference of Superior Courts.
The President stated, “I will advise that the conference should, in its deliberations, consider how to create an efficient structure for the proposed Special Crimes Courts or the urgent designation of existing courts as special courts with competent and credible judicial officers in order to remove administrative bottlenecks in the judicial process.”
A State House statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari told the judicial officers that he was aware of the challenges being faced by the judiciary, adding that he had discussed the issues with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko-Muhammad.
He spoke further, “The government has been committed to a number of justice sector reforms such as review of extant laws and enactment of new laws that will improve the lives of Nigerians.
“Additionally, we have worked closely with the Chief Justice of Nigeria to ensure that judicial budgetary allocations are enhanced in view of the needs of the judiciary.
“I have strongly supported the increase in number of judges at High Courts, Appeal Courts and the Supreme Court in order to reduce the burden of the work placed on judicial officers. I will continue to do so.”
The President told the judges that he was working on rebuilding the country’s economy by attracting foreign investment, fighting corruption and insecurity.
He urged the judges to support the efforts of the administration in that regard.
He said, “Economic progress can only be sustained in an atmosphere of the rule of law where justice is guaranteed. I must therefore express my hope that this conference will achieve its objective of articulating interventions by which this administration’s drive to improve transparency, security, and the expeditious adjudication of commercial, corruption-related crimes including economic and financial crimes matters could be enhanced.”
While acknowledging that the three arms of government had a constitutional mandate of checks and balances, the President called for constructive engagements by the arms at all times.
On elections, Buhari praised the courts for their speedy disposal of cases so far.
“I am proud to observe that the judiciary both before and after the elections, has improved on its ability to conclude election matters in a timely manner.
“There is still room for improvement and I urge the Chief Justice to initiate a study to understand the challenges of adjudicating election matters and to advise me on the steps that the executive can take to address those challenges,” he added.