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President Tinubu to Declare National Summit on Justice Open April 24

LPresident Bola Ahmed Tinubu will declare open, National Summit on Justice to address critical challenges in the nation’s justice sector in Abuja, on April 24, 2024.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), disclosed this on Thursday while addressing journalists in Abuja.

According to Fagbemi, the highly anticipated National Summit on Justice, holding from April 24 to 25, 2024, will be hosted by the Federal Ministry of Justice, alongside the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The National Summit, with the theme “Repositioning the Justice System: Constitutional, Statutory, and Operational Reforms for Access and Efficiency”, the Minister said, will be held at the Auditorium of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.

The crucial event, Fagbemi said, will address the significant challenges plaguing Nigeria’s justice sector and pave the way for much-needed reforms that will make justice more accessible to all Nigerians.

He said the summit will bring together experts, legal professionals, and key stakeholders from across the country to engage in constructive discussions and develop practical solutions that prioritise the justice needs of the average Nigerian.

In his words, “The National Summit on Justice presents a unique opportunity to collectively tackle the pressing issues hindering the efficient, fair, and people-centred delivery of justice in our nation.

“The Joint Planning Committee established by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the NBA, headed by the Chairman of the NBA Judiciary Committee, Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, has assembled a remarkable group of speakers and panellists to share their invaluable knowledge and expertise and proffer constructive solutions for making the justice system more efficient and accessible to all Nigerians,” the AGF and Minister of Justice stated.

He added that the summit will feature a keynote address by Dr Willy Mutunga, EGH, a renowned legal scholar, jurist, and former Chief Justice of Kenya, celebrated for his commitment to democratic principles and human rights and for the transformative judicial reform that took place in Kenya under his watch.

One of the summit’s goals, the minister said, is to review, validate, and adopt the revised National Policy on Justice 2024–2028 to drive prison reforms, access to justice for the average Nigerian, as well as the review of electoral laws and procedures in handling election-related cases, among several other reforms.

He said, “This comprehensive policy document outlines a broad framework and initiatives in 17 thematic areas aimed at reforming the justice sector to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility to all Nigerians, ensuring that justice is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all.

“The policy aims to address various challenges within the legal framework, seeking to promote social cohesion, bolster economic development, and foster good governance.”.

He added further that the Summit will deliberate on draft legislation proposed to address specific identified challenges within the justice sector, relating to the judicial appointment process, administration, funding, and budgeting for the judiciary, the elimination of delays and inefficiencies in justice delivery, and to evolve ways to reduce the amount of time for adjudication of cases, eliminate some of the associated technicalities, and reduce the number of cases getting to the Supreme Court.

“In this regard, we intend to look at a situation where many cases will terminate at the court of appeals to reduce the burden on our noble justices of the Supreme Court.

“These proposed laws are expected to serve as a catalyst for collective action and provide a guiding framework for relevant governmental institutions at both the national and subnational levels to establish an effective, efficient, and people-centred justice system.”.

The country, he said, cannot afford to remain complacent in the face of the obstacles impeding the efficient delivery of justice for all Nigerians, adding that “the Summit will present an opportunity for us to unite our efforts, leverage our collective expertise, and chart a course towards a more just and equitable society.”.

Fagbemi expressed the hope that the National Summit on Justice will usher in a new era of positive change and progress in the country’s justice sector and ensure a fair, accessible, and efficient legal system that upholds the rule of law while safeguarding fundamental human rights.

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