By Nduke Ekweka
The National Coordinator of Initiative for Demonstrating Change in Nigeria; Mr. Ogochukwu Elem in collaboration with the leaders of Integrity Group of Nigeria have called on all lovers of Democratic process in the country to throw their weight behind the Nation’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice; Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to enable him explore all legal avenues that would help to move Nigeria foward.
Mr. Ogochukwu made the call during a joint briefing of Newsmen in Abakaliki with his counterpart of the Integrity Group, Mr. Chinedu Nwali on the current state of the Nation’s judicial system.
Mr. Ogochukwu noted that the administration of the Federal Ministry of Justice, headed by the Attorney General of the Federation has recorded remarkable achievements.
According to the group, “The Ministry of Justice, has nine parastatals under it and covers the entire court system, human rights, legal advice, prosecution, among others”.
“It is on record that it is under the leadership of of Abubakar Malami that the ministry advised President Muhammadu Buhari on assent to over 12 bills”.
“It was the advice of Malami led Ministry of Justice that led the President to assent to 5 out of the 12 bills and decline assent to 7 of the bills from the National Assembly,” he said.
The group also stated that the Attorney General has been able to clamp down on corrupt elements by fast-tracking trials.
Mr.Elem highlighted some of the major track records of Mr. Malami to include but not limited to; NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN BILL Where in Malami advised the President to assent to the ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill’, which was proposed by the National Assembly.
He noted that the Not Too Young To Run Bill, sought to reduce the age limit for vying for political offices adding that its approval by President Buhari “opened up the democratic space” in the country.
“The Act allowed many in the young age bracket to contest in the 2019 elections.100% implementation as can be seen in the 2019 election, would take Nigeria to the global world before 2023”
He enumerated Other Feats recorded by Mr. Malami to include; STATE LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE.
“The ministry took major steps to help the president improve the independence of the state legislature and judiciary.”
He explained that there is a bill to provide for fiscal independence of Legislative and Judicial arm of State Government by the direct funding from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“The Executive Order by the President, on State Judiciary and Legislation was a win-win that would have a positive bearing on national development”.
The group leader maintained that, the Order would enable the judiciary to deliver free and fair judgment at the State level, without any form of external or political influence.
Ogochukwu Elem who was visibly enthusiastic about the leadership credentials of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, reiterated that the President assented to a bill to provide for pre-election matters, set statutory time for determination of pre-election matters to guarantee sound judicial pronouncements due to the professional advise of the Minister and his team of legal practitioners.
According to Elem, “The pre-election matters bill is a step forward for judicial processes in the country such that election petitions are adjudicated upon within record time thereby eliminating undue delays.”
“There is significant minimized delays in trial of criminal cases more especially the high profile cases.It has ensured legislation for speedy trial of cases. For instance, three former governors have been convicted and mechanisms have been set in motion towards” seizing their assets, which are proceeds of crime.”
The South East Secretary of the Group, Mr. Chinedu Nwali used the medium to call other Ministers to emulate the intelligence, initiatives and sacrifices of Mr. Malami stressing that such commitment and support is what Buhari’s administration needs to attain it’s desired height.
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