#MP2013 Presentation of the Ministry of Justice

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Ministerial Platform 2013

Transcript of #MP2013 Presentation of the Ministry of Justice

  • 2. 1. INTRODUCTION Accountability of public officers and institutions is a key component of this administrations transformation agenda. I am therefore delighted at the opportunity to give account of our stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Justice in commemoration of the 2nd Anniversary of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathans Administration.
  • 3. INTRODUCTION Let me start by expressing my deep appreciation to Almighty God for the rare privilege of serving this great country during the period under review and His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for appointing me to this position of public trust. I also commend Mr. Labaran Maku, the Honourable Minister of Information, for providing a veritable platform for Ministers to engage with the Nigerian people on the activities of their Ministries and parastatals, and for sustaining the vibrancy of this platform, since assumption of office.
  • 4. INTRODUCTION The Federal Ministry of Justice is essentially a service ministry established to provide legal support services to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to enable them discharge their statutory functions in line with the overall policy thrust of this administration. Consequently, we have remained focused in our collective endeavours to contribute our quota to the realization of the transformation agenda of this administration and have resolutely kept faith with our vision to Make Justice accessible to all, consistent with the ideals of Democracy and Rule of Law.
  • 5. PART I: CORE FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE MINISTRY 2. In line with our resolve to provide sound legal framework, advice and efficient service delivery to support the attainment of Governments objectives, the Ministry embarked on a number of initiatives during the period under review with the aim of ensuring the smooth functioning of government through the effective discharge of our core functions which include:
  • 6. PART I: CORE FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE MINISTRY ensuring access to justice for all persons and the observance of the rule of law and due process by all MDAs; prosecuting crimes against the State and defending civil cases on behalf of Government; negotiating and vetting Contracts/ Agreements on behalf of MDAs in order to protect national interest;
  • 7. PART I: CORE FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE MINISTRY rendering timely quality legal advice and ancillary services to MDAs through the pool of Legal Advisers posted to them; facilitating the early translation of Government policies into legislation through the Ministrys legal drafting function; ensuring close collaboration with stakeholders, government agencies, civil society and the international community in order to improve on justice delivery, and
  • 8. PART I: CORE FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE MINISTRY advising government on its treaty obligations, in addition to other sundry services to the legal profession.
  • 9. These functions are discharged through Core departments in the Ministry, the Legal Units domiciled in the various MDAs who act as representatives of the Attorney General of the Federation within their respective organizations and the liaison offices located in the six geo-political zones of the country. The Ministry also supervises the activities of the following parastatals :
  • 10. Nigerian Law Reform Commission Legal Aid Council Council of Legal Education National Drug Law Enforcement Agency National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Nigerian Copyrights Commission; and Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Lagos.
  • 11. 3. During the period under review, the Ministry made significant improvement in its service delivery and recorded some milestones in the discharge of its mandate. Most notable of the achievements include: improvement in the prosecution of crimes and defence of civil cases; enhanced capacity building in key areas, particularly the prosecution of complex crimes (economic crimes, corruption, drug and terrorism related offences); PART II: ACHIEVEMENTS (2011 2013)
  • 12. Reduction in the number of cases farmed out to external solicitors; Reduction in the quantum of judgment debts obtained against MDAs; Institutionalization of reforms in the justice sector aimed at improving access to justice; Mainstreaming the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act; PART II: ACHIEVEMENTS (2011 2013)
  • 13. Drafting of legislation in critical areas such as the war against terror, money laundering and other economic crimes consistent with Nigerias international obligations; timely and efficient international cooperation on matters of extradition and mutual legal assistance; adoption of measures to improve on the administration of criminal justice, and initiatives to reform our Business and Investment laws. PART II: ACHIEVEMENTS (2011 2013)
  • 14. 4. To engender appreciation of the progress made in the areas mentioned above, the activities of some of the Ministrys professional departments and units are discussed below in greater detail: PART III- ELABORATION OF THE MINISTRYS ACHIEVEMENTS
  • 15. The major challenge with the prosecution of the crimes and the ability of Law Officers of the Ministry to effectively defend cases against the government has been a combination of lack of capacity, low morale and poor supervision. This had in the past resulted in low percentage of cases that are diligently prosecuted with adverse consequences and in respect of civil matter, the high percentage of judgment debts/arbitral awards against MDAs. (a)Prosecution of Crimes and Defence of Cases
  • 16. To stem this tide, vigorous capacity building trainings were embarked upon during the period under review. The Ministry also benefited from capacity building trainings from the J4A, the British Council, the United States Embassy, etc. These trainings impacted positively on our Law Officers to the extent that the Ministry has drastically reduced its dependence on external solicitors and enhanced its prosecutorial abilities leading to more effective prosecution of criminal cases and defence of civil matters.
  • 17. The Code of Conduct for Prosecutors has been articulated to ensure that prosecutors observe the highest professional and ethical standards in the discharge of their prosecutorial duties, as well as imbibe best practices drawn from other jurisdictions to guarantee fair conduct of trials. The Guidelines for Prosecutors that is in the final stages of completion will complement the Code of Conduct for Prosecutors. Ultimately, our desire is to ensure efficient and effective prosecutions, conducted with the highest possible professional and ethical standards.
  • 18. During the period under review, a total number of 75 cases of Terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency were received and prosecuted. Sixteen of the cases have been concluded with 8 convictions, while 35 were struck out. A good number of the terrorism cases were struck out because the accused persons had escaped during the attack on prisons in Bauchi and Maiduguri. The suspects will be arraigned