*Photo: Malami SAN*
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has assured the judiciary that better days are ahead for the third arm of government and the overall administration of justice in our country.
This was made known by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
According to the statement Malami gave the assurance at the special court session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year and conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria to 62 recipients.
The Minister expressed high optimism that the recent approval granted by President Muhammadu Buhari, in addition to increase in the salaries and allowances of our judicial officers, but also for conditions for their health, well-being and professional development; will usher in a new lease of life and impetus for the judiciary to operate maximally in a more beneficial and rewarding environment.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, in line with its commitment to promoting the rule of law, has accorded top priority to the funding of the judiciary, hence according to him, the Government has ensured a “progressive budgetary allocation to the judiciary which has seen an increase from N73billion in 2015 to over N130billion in 2022. A further increased sum of N150billion has been proposed for 2023”.
“In addition to the foregoing, we have provided special intervention when the need arises, particularly, in meeting the huge cost of running election tribunals,” he said.
Malami, therefore, called for collective efforts from the judiciary in order to attain the desired levels of good governance and development as he said law and development are interwoven.
He noted that positive changes in the judiciary will by necessary implication serve as precipitating factors for the much-needed developments in the national polity.
Malami disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Justice was in the process of reviewing the National Policy on Justice, to enhance stakeholders’ ability to tackle issues hindering the entire justice sector.
“Only recently, the Federal Executive Council approved the revised National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan (2022–2026). We have also recorded modest gains from the operationalization of the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022,” he said.
Malami explained that vide such recoveries running into billions in various currencies are being ploughed into funding critical infrastructural projects, such as the Abuja-Kano & Lagos-Ibadan Expressways, and 2nd Niger Bridge, all under the Presidential Infrastructure.
He commended the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC), under the leadership of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, for striving to sustain high standard in the profession by meticulously sieving through multiple applications to arrive at the 62 recipients.
Malami expressed delight at the increasing number of career civil servants who are making the final list of Senior Advocate of Nigeria annually which he described as a pointer to a rebirth of quality advocacy at the official bar which he said needs to be sustained and encouraged.
“We cannot bemoan dearth of competent advocacy in the public service without taking positive steps to chart a way forward on capacity building and provision of equal opportunities for our State Counsel or Legal Officers,” he said.