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Wednesday , 20 June 2018

Buhari Directs Release of Nigerian Prisoners

In a bid to reform Nigeria’s judicial system, President Muhammadu Buhari has charged all Governors and Chief Judges of the 36 states to release prisoners who are currently being detained for no just reason.

Buhari spoke in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the 2017 All Nigerian Judges’ Conference of Superior Courts.

Speaking on the need for judicial integrity, equity, fairness and the rule of law in Nigeria, President Buhari said he gave the directive for the release of detained prisoners last month while noting that the over-crowding of inmates amongst issues have affected the image of the judicial system in the country.

The president said there are several cases awaiting trial at various courts, especially at the Appeal court. He, therefore, noted that the eliminating the long trial and justice process is crucial to Nigeria’s justice system and development.

He further highlighted the disparity in delivering judgment, a case wherein a judge establishes the merit and justice of a case and pronounces his judgment while another judge gives a different judgment. To this end, the president urged judges to be conscious and unanimous in reaching a conclusion on judicial matters.

President Buhari said that Nigeria, in its democratic state, cannot survive without observing the rule of law and social justice.

“My Lords, Distinguished delegates, the prime purpose of any government is to regulate social relations within its territorial jurisdiction. Without the rule of law, the government will degenerate into dictatorship or anarchy.”

He assured the judiciary of a collaborative functionality while explaining that the raid on some Judges in 2016 was not aimed at intimidating, discrediting nor diminishing the value and social responsibility of the judiciary.

“Let me again assure the judicial community, this action taken by the Executive was in no way a prelude to usurping the powers of the National Judicial Council or aimed at intimidating the Judiciary as wrongly portrayed in some sections of the media.

“I am aware that the majority of judicial officers are learned and incorruptible and day in day out acting in the best spirit of their oath of office.

President Buhari however, expressed knowledge of the challenges of the Judiciary while highlighting government’s effort at solving the issues.

“…I am quite aware of the problems besetting the Judiciary including under-funding, inadequate personnel, and absence of modern technological aids.’’

“Bearing these in mind, this Administration increased allocation to the Judiciary from N70 billion to N100 billion in the 2017 budget. A similar figure has been proposed for 2018. The administration’s commitment, he said, was to accord the judiciary its constitutional rights. He commended the recent decision to ask all judges at lower courts to provide a comprehensive list of all corruption and financial crimes in order to designate special courts to handle them.

He, therefore, charged the judiciary to brace up for the task of nation-building. “I support your action and the public is awaiting the results of this initiative.’’

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