To deter looters and enhance the clampdown on corruption, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has ordered all heads of courts in the federation to compile and forward the lists of all corruption and financial crimes cases in their courts. The CJN also directed them to designate one or two courts in their jurisdiction as Special Courts for the hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crimes cases.
Speaking during the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to 29 senior lawyers, which took place in Abuja this week, the CJN said to effectively monitor and enforce the new policy, an Anti-Corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee would be set up at the next meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The CJN, who acknowledged that corruption would fight back in the current anti-corruption war, directed all heads of courts to clamp down on lawyers who deploy delay tactics in criminal matters before them. He also solicited the cooperation of the public in the anti-corruption war, and advised litigants, advocates and the public to refrain from making malicious allegations/complaints against judicial officers.
This reporter recalls back then between 2003 and 2007 as a judiciary reporter covering the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, when some criminal courts were designated special courts to try EFCC cases. Then, mega fraud trials like those of the Anajembas attracted huge coverage, and judgment days, after fairly speedy trials, were landmark events.
The CJNâ€™s directive may well enhance the federal government’s efforts to fight a strong anti-development foe, if his directives are obeyed by all concerned parties, to showcase hope for Nigeria. Corruption will not give up easily in a materialistic society like this nation…basic fact
– Abimbola Akosile