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Judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies responsible for court delays – CJN

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Wednesday, blamed the slow pace of cases in court on judges, lawyers, and litigants.

The CJN, who also blamed the slow pace of administration of justice on the congestion of the Nigerian courts, noted that the failure of the principal actors such as the judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, witnesses and litigants to play their roles,  was contributing to the problem.

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He spoke at the ‘Colloquium of appellate Justices on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and anti-graft laws’.

The CJN was represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in collaboration with the Court of Appeal and the National Judicial Council.

He said, “Delay in the dispensation of justice remains a major challenge due to the failure by various actors including some judges, legal practitioners, law enforcement agencies, litigants and witnesses to appreciate or play their roles in the speedy dispensation of justice.

“We must all address the problem of delay headlong and find creative solutions thereto.

“There is also the challenge of the huge backlog of cases and appeals awaiting attention. The National Judicial Council has put in place measures to tackle this problem. We urge all the stakeholders of the justice system to be more creative and proactive in addressing these challenges.”

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He expressed hope that through the discussions at the event, judges participating “will be reminded of the leading decisions of our courts on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the anti-graft laws”.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, described the judiciary as “a crucial partner of anti-corruption agencies in the fight against corruption”.

Owasanoye, who was represented by a former Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Adamu Bello (retd), noted that “the prosecution of corruption cases by anti-corruption agencies have benefited tremendously since the passage of ACJA”.

He called for greater enforcement of the provisions of the law particularly section 396(6) of the law which empowers judges to award costs against lawyers who file frivolous applications.

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