To savage the deteriorated and unabated challenging insecurity menace in Nigeria, Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, encourages federal and state governments collaboration in terms of prosecution and other various measures of tackling the menace. He explained that the federal government should not be left alone to handle the insecurity menace particularly offences that fall within the states jurisdiction. Malami made this remarks in his opening statement at the conference of Attorneys-General in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister further urged the instant Conference to open path in order to determine the accomplishments resulted from the commitment made in 2017 to eradicate Sexual and Gender Based Violence. He further highlighted some curicial factors left behind in the course to reform the administration of justice such as adequate funding for the judiciary and compliance with the provisions of the Constitution on financial autonomy for the judiciary and State legislatures. Malami claims this portrays true and holistic commitment to the ideals of democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
Structure and system of federation’s governance are lacking awareness.
According to him, the conference, titled “Enhancing Synergy Between the Federal and State Governments in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria” corroborates one of the major anchors of Nigeria’s democratic life. He said holding the position of a Chief Law Officer incurs them as a stakeholders in the administration of both civil and criminal justice in Nigeria. However, there are certain responsibilities and obligations attached to the enviable position like making sure states institutions and officers contribute their quota in order to ensure that the legal system meets the general public expectations from the justice sector.
Speaking on exercising the mandate, Malami said Chief Law Officers should always be guided by the abiding framework under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, as per the amended Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution, which covers every facet of governance and our national life. The minister said the Federation’s structure and system of governance are lacking awareness of the possibility of having genuine disputes and frictions among the federating units, national and sub-national governments.
There is need to underplay mutual mistrust between FG, states.
Nevertheless, the common values and resources also make collaboration and mutual relationships imperative and fundamental. Therefore, this august body of Attorneys-General occupies a critical position in driving national unity and development. Also, there is a need to underplay the culture of mutual mistrust between the Federal and State Governments, in order to promote and enhance a symbiotic relationship between them. The primary objective is to scrutinize factors hampering the synergy in the administration of justice and proffer practical ways forward.
Furthermore, Malami said with such situations at various stages of judicial adjudication, it requires concerted effort with a view to achieving mutual resolution without prejudice to subsisting legal rights. He avers that the synchronized energy will sustain the ties, induce professional calling to bear on governance and reduce tension or frictions. This will adequately project the State and Federal Governments as partners and not competitors. Thus, Malami urges the prioritization of identitying areas of peer review and synergy in the legal system in terms of legislations, policies, procedures, capacity building, funding structures or facilities, among others, which can either be replicated or improved.
The policy was designed to provide a platform for collaboration.
Whereas a National Summit on Justice was congregated in 2017 to be adopted as a formidable reform blueprint, following discussions with various stakeholders and the members of this Body, development partners and the Civil Society Organizations. The policy was designed to provide opportunities and platforms for strengthening collaboration, coordination, and consensus-building among the Justice Sector Institutions. More so he solicited the support of states to key into the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which has now proceeded into its second phase; spanning from 2022 – 2026.