How Ministry of Justice Saved N1442bn, $507m from Judgement Liabilities, Malami Lists Achievements from 2015-2023
It is my privilege to make this presentation on a critical aspect of the scorecard reflecting the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the areas of law reforms, administration of justice, anti-corruption efforts, and promotion of rule of law.
2. The President often makes reference to his legal odyssey through the Courts in fighting electoral injustice. This fact coupled with his renowned anti-corruption posture, unsurprisingly, brought to the front burner issues of judicial reforms and independence; adherence to the tenets of the rule of law, deepening democratic governance practices and strengthening institutional reforms across law enforcement and anti-corruption Agencies, as part of the cardinal policies, at the core of agenda of his administration.
3. It is pertinent for me to clarify that the justice sector transcends the Ministry of Justice or the Office of the Attorney General. The policies and activities in the justice sector are driven by different stakeholders who play assigned roles ranging from enactment of laws (rules and regulations), interpretation of laws; (adjudication), implementation or enforcement of laws, with the ultimate aim of ensuring access to justice. The fact that justice is a mandatory requirement of an orderly society means that justice permeates every sector of society and governance.
4. It is apposite that an efficient justice delivery system is key to ensuring Nigeria’s economic growth and development, as well as ensuring the socio-economic wellbeing of citizens. Investors are often attracted to economies that have institutionalized functional judicial system and where the rule of law prevails.
5. My job here today is therefore to brief you about the vision and mission of the Federal Ministry of Justice, its policy framework, and how it plays its critical roles in the fulfilment of the agenda of the government on law and justice, whilst acting in concert with all arms and tiers of government.
6. In recognition of the need to strategically address the challenges facing the sector, the Federal Ministry of Justice convened the first ever National Summit on Justice, with the aim of building consensus among justice sector institutions and practitioners and evolving a justice system that is fairer, more effective, accessible, efficient and responsive to the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians.
7. You will agree that in a federation and constitutional democracy such as ours, collaboration between the Federal, State and other stakeholders in the justice sector is critical to drive the reforms of the justice system for national development.
8. The result of this Summit was the adoption of a National Policy on Justice in 2017, which is a blueprint to guide all justice sector institutions, without compromising the fundamentals of our federal system of government.
The following are the key programmes and achievements which we have recorded.
1. CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS
a. In conjunction with relevant security and Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) the Ministry has developed a framework for Joint Investigation and Collaboration geared towards engagement of prosecution-guided investigation in terrorism cases, to address challenges of successful prosecutions.
b. Furthermore, a robust interface has been developed between the office of the HAGF and Law Enforcement Agencies for synergy and good working relationship in the area of arrest, investigations, as well as Case Management, also as part of efforts to enhance prosecution of cases.
c. A total of 3,000 Terrorism cases have been profiled to date out of which over 1500 cases were prosecuted, with 397 convictions realized.
d. A total of 7000 cases involving various offences including Maritime, Armed Robbery, Vandalization of Electrical Equipment and Pipelines, Financial matters, Cyber Crime, Kidnapping and Anti-corruption have been successfully prosecuted.
e. The Ministry is coordinating the next phase of terrorism related trials in collaboration with the Federal High Court, the Legal Aid Council, and the Defence Headquarters. In this regard, the Ministry is currently remodeling structures at the Wawa Cantonment, Kainji to accommodate eight (8) courtrooms, Judges’ Chambers, living accommodation, Lawyers’ dressing room and conveniences to make them conducive for Judges, Witnesses as well as Defendants.
f. Prosecution of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
i. In response to the growing incidence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Country, the President directed the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Management Committee on the eradication of SGBV cases. Further to this, the Ministry has established the SGBV Response Unit, which activities have yielded the following successes including:
• Facilitation of access to justice for SGBV victims through Prosecution, legal counselling and negotiation of settlement agreement between parties on family law issues, with focus on the protection of the rights of women and children.
• The establishment of a robust referral mechanism with relevant key MDAs and stakeholders has been put in place.
• Strengthening of the knowledge of SGBV cases through capacity building programs
• Designation of Four (4) Courts on SGBV by the Chief Judge of the FCT.
2. Anti-Corruption Drive
a. National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2022 – 2026
• The government has pushed the frontiers in the fight against corruption in several areas by strengthening anti-corruption agencies and accountability systems, passing strategic anti-corruption legislations and enforcing sanctions with vigour.
• A major positive development in the anti-corruption agenda is the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The NACS was first adopted by the Federal Executive Council in July 2017 to run for a period spanning 2017 to 2021. The NACS implementation has now been extended from 2022 to 2026.
• The strategy seeks to develop and implement mechanisms aimed at improving governance of public institutions at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, by combatting corruption related factors inhibiting Government’s capacity to deliver quality services to Nigerians. The NACS also has a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Committee established by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, comprising of Twenty-Two (22) members drawn from different sectors including state and non-state actors with the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) as the secretariat. The M&E Committee has the responsibility to monitor and evaluate the progress made on the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy in Nigeria.
Progress so far:
The implementation of the Strategy is on-going and modest achievements have so far been recorded. There is increased transparency with the growth of initiatives like Freedom of Information, Beneficial ownership disclosures and Open Contracting. Routine corruption risk assessments are carried out to determine vulnerabilities to corruption including systemic reviews to tackle the anomaly from the roots. There have been continued efforts to strengthen dedicated institutions to ensure data–policy nexus and inter-agency coordination and collaboration especially via the Inter Agency Task Team of anti-corruption agencies (IATT) platform.
b. Local Asset Recovery and Management
In line with the cardinal principle of the present Administration in the fight against corruption, we have achieved the following successes under the Asset Recovery and Management effort of this Administration.
i. Revenue Generation
• Sale of Forfeited Assets
A total sum of N1,823,788,146.86 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Twenty Three Million, Seven Hundred & Eighty-Eight Thousand, One Hundred and Forty-Six Thousand naira, Eighty-Six kobo) has been generated so far by the Ministry, from the forfeited properties.
c. International Asset Recoveries
In compliance with Presidential mandates and foreign judicial processes, the Ministry has recovered total sums of £6,324,627.66 (Six Million, Three Hundred & Twenty-Four Thousand, Six Hundred & Twenty Seven Pounds, Sixty-Six Pence); €5,494,743.71 (Five Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-Four thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty-Three Euro, Seventy-One Cents); and $390,000,000 (Three Hundred and Ninety Million dollars) from various jurisdictions. Some of the recovered funds are being utilized in the financing of critical infrastructures including Abuja – Kano Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, and Lagos – Ibadan Expressway.
d. Due to the concerted effort by my Office in conjunction with relevant Stakeholders, including the legislature, the President recently assented to Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act 2022 (POCA) on 12th May 2022. I wish to state that POCA is the first legislation in Nigeria that comprehensively provides for mechanisms, processes and procedures for the tracing, restraint, seizure, confiscation, forfeiture and management of properties derived from unlawful activities. Its main objective is to take out the profits that incentivize and fund crime, with the ultimate aim of disrupting the cycle of crime and preventing future offences and corrupt practices.
e. Other Anti-Corruption Legislations
We have also been able to enact the following anti-corruption and criminal justice laws:
• Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2017;
• Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit Act, 2018;
• Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2018;
• Company and Allied Matters Act incorporating Beneficial Ownership, 2020;
• Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022
• Witness Protection and Management Act, 2022;
f. Nigeria Open Government Partnership (OGP)
The present administration’s commitment to a full-scale anti-corruption agenda was accentuated in July, 2016, when Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP), as the 70th country. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multinational multi-lateral and multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation. From July 2016 to December 2022, the National Steering Committee has overseen the implementation of Nigeria’s OGP National Action Plan (NAP I & II) which was made up of fourteen commitments organized around seven thematic areas namely:
• Fiscal Transparency
• Extractive Transparency
• Access to Information
• Citizens’ Engagement and Empowerment
• Inclusiveness and
• Service Delivery.
The Federal Ministries of Justice, Finance and other relevant MDAs are providing the required leadership and implementation framework through the National Steering Committee and OGP Secretariat. Furthermore, the Federal Executive Council in June 2018, approved measures to deepen the reforms in the OGP process and also ensure MDAs set up an OGP Unit. The Federal Government of Nigeria, in conjunction, with the World Bank has also extended support to the States to adopt and domesticate the OGP fiscal transparency and sustainability initiatives thorough the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Program.
3. Impact of Litigation Efforts on the Economy
An effective justice system is measured not only by the number of cases which are successfully disposed of, but also and more importantly, strategic measures which are adopted to avoid litigation, in the first place. Using a combination of effective defence strategies to cases, including arbitration and mediation, as well as prosecution of appeals, the Ministry has succeeded in saving the country from huge avoidable debt liabilities.
a. A total of 648 (Six Hundred and Forty-Eight) cases instituted against the President, Federal Government and its Agencies, before States, Federal and ECOWAS Courts were served on the Ministry. The cases are at different stages of trial. Diligent defences of these cases in the year 2022 alone saved the government from huge judgment debt liabilities to the tune of N142,458,343,888.52 (One Hundred and Forty-Two Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty-Eight Million, Three Hundred & Forty-Three Thousand, Eight Hundred & Eighty-Eight Naira, Fifty-Two Kobo) and US$507,415,901.19 (Five Hundred & Seven Million, Four Hundred & Fifteen Thousand, Nine Hundred & One Dollars, Nineteen Cents). These cases were handled by in-house State Counsel in the Ministry; and thus saved the Country from further liabilities that would have accrued from payment of external solicitors’ fees.
b. The Ministry is also coordinating the defense of a number of international arbitration proceedings commenced against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other FGN Agencies. These include arbitration initiated by Sunrise Power over the Mambilla Power Project, Eni and Shell over operational rights. We have also made appreciable progress in the actions being taken to challenge the arbitral award in the case of Process & Industrial Development. The hearing of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s application to set aside the arbitral award will commence before the English Court shortly. It is important to stress that the efforts by the Ministry in defending these international cases has so far enabled Nigeria to avoid liabilities running into Billions of US Dollars.
4. Contract Negotiations and Agreements/ International Relations
The responsibility of handling negotiations and providing legal advise on all Federal Government Contract falls squarely on the Ministry. Consequently, the following efforts have been realized in respect of Contracts and opinions.
a. Contracts vetted and approved
The Ministry has vetted/ reviewed 965 major Contracts and PPP Projects to ensure value for money, eliminate corruption and ensure adequate protection of FGN investments. A total of 879 Legal Opinions were proffered during the reporting period.
b. Ease of Doing Business
The Ministry has streamlined the guidelines for the incorporation of Companies Limited by Guarantee, with a view to stimulating economic growth. A total number of 2679 approvals for the registration of Companies Limited by Guarantee have been issued by my Office.
c. Negotiating and Facilitating Loan Facilities on behalf of the Federal Government.
The Ministry provides legal support during negotiations for loan facilities from International organizations including World Bank, AfDB, etc. Our efforts so far have ensured that these loan agreements do not impose onerous conditions on Government which may in turn lead to additional liabilities.
d. Establishment of Federal Contracts Administration System (FCAS)
i. The Federal Government Contract Administration System (FCAS) has been introduced by the Federal Government to effectively monitor contracts from MDAs, from project conceptualization, award to final execution. In view of the numerous litigious contracts entered into by MDAs in the past, which have often led to high projects failures, projects cost overrun, disputes, litigation, arbitrations and losses running into billions of Naira and United States (US) Dollars, the Federal Executive Council vide EC(2021) 15th Meeting (Conclusion 4), directed the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to develop and establish the Federal Contracts Administration System (FCAS).
• The FCAS solution is a digital platform designed to protect Government from entering potentially flawed and unfavourable contracts by ensuring compliance with extant laws. The management and administration of FCAS is warehoused in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
e. International Cooperation Agreement
The Ministry has continued to work towards improvement in bilateral relations with other nations through the preparation and vetting of Agreements/Memorandum of Understandings aimed at attracting foreign investments. In July 2022, oil and gas related matters were negotiated and relevant instruments executed during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Spain and Portugal. Nigeria also negotiated and signed Agreements/Memorandum of Understanding with Ivory Coast, Burundi, Rwanda, Turkey, South Africa, Iran, Benin Republic, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, etc.
f. Ratification of International Treaties on Security
A few weeks ago, my Ministry facilitated the ratification of Nigeria’s Accession to the (Budapest) Convention on Cybercrime (CETS No.185) which was assented to by the President on 4th July 2022. The (Budapest) Convention on Cybercrime is the sole international instrument on Cybercrime which sets out the framework for harmonizing Criminalization, procedural powers and International Cooperation – all of which serve Nigeria’s strategic national interest in the fight against Cybercrime, and aligns with the National Cyber Security Strategy, 2021.
g. The Mutual Legal Assistance on Extradition
My Office has successfully executed over 350 MLA requests and over 50 Extradition requests. Among these are MLA requests from United Kingdom on trafficking in person, which led to the first conviction of the Offender under the UK Modern Slavery Act on 13th April, 2022. Other MLA requests from Turkey, USA on drug trafficking and other crimes have been successfully treated
5. Legislative Reforms
a. The Federal Ministry of Justice supports Government Revenue Generation Drive, through Policy development and support for Executive Orders aimed at good governance and creating jobs for the teaming population of Nigerians.
b. The Ministry has processed a lot of critical legislations which are targeted along different Sectorial needs which encompasses Security and National Defence, Agriculture, Finance, oil and gas, social interventions amongst others. Some critical Bills developed by the Ministry in the period under review include:
i. Nigeria Correctional Service Act, 2019 –
The Prisons Act was one of the oldest laws inherited by this administration. In order to ensure compliance with international human rights standards and good correctional practices, the Federal Ministry of Justice working with stakeholders in the sector, ensured the passage of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019. This was to enhance the focus on corrections and promotion of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders; and to establish institutional, systemic and sustainable mechanisms to address the high number of persons awaiting trial. The Act also provides enabling platform for implementation of non-custodial measures.
ii. Money Laundering (prevention and prohibition) Act 2022 –
iii. Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 –
iv. Electoral Act 2022 – The Act engendered clarity and transparency of the election process and minimize acrimonies arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties.
v. A total of Twelve (12) executive orders to enhance Governance, Job Creation, Procurement and key policy initiative programmes have so far been issued by Mr. president. 1,500 Bills were received for vetting by the Legal Drafting Department of the Ministry, and a total number of 350 were assented to by the President.
6. Justice Sector Reform Achievement
a. Establishment of the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reform and Decongestion (2017)
Since its inauguration in 2017, and in response to the alarming reports of the deplorable state of custodial centres nationwide the Committee visited and appraised thirty-six (36) correctional centres in 22 states across the Federation and released a total of 12,000 inmates’ charged with and or convicted with minor offences on grounds of ill health, good behaviour, old age and for failure to pay fines and for other cogent reasons.
b. The Ministry is currently reviewing the 1st draft of the proposed Sentencing Guidelines incorporating Non-Custodial Measures for the effective implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
c. Review of the Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act, Cap B11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004
The Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act established Remand Centres and Borstal Institutions for the purpose of detention of persons between the ages of 16 and 21 years. The Act was enacted in 1960 and since its enactment, only three Borstal institutions were established in Kaduna, Kwara and Ogun State.
Consequently, My Office directed a review of the provisions of the Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act. The objectives of the review are three-fold. First is to bring the provisions of the Act in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the Child Rights Act, 2003, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, as well as the Correctional Services Act of 2019. The second objective of the review is to reflect current realities in terms of administrative structures and operational realities in present day Nigeria, while the third is to bring the Borstal Act in line with international best practices in a way that it will align with the best interest of the child, in line with requirements under the United Nation’s Child’s Right Convention.
The Committee produced a Draft Bill, which proposes the repeal of the Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act, Cap B11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. In its place, the Committee has proposed the enactment of a new Children and Youth Correctional Institutions Act.
d. Establishment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee at the Federal level with membership from all major criminal justice stakeholders, and representatives from the Judiciary, Police, Correctional Service, Civil Society Organizations.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) is charged with ensuring the effective application of the Act by all stakeholders in the criminal justice system. The ACJMC is strengthening the implementation of the ACJA by monitoring compliance with the critical, essential, and unifying elements of the Act, which focus on pre-trial processes, trial proceedings, case management processes and timeframes, and institutional frameworks for sustainable reform.
e. Custody Management Project
The ACJMC has supported reforms in the systems and practice of custody management in Nigeria by undergoing a series of mapping exercises in Police Divisions and Law Enforcement Agencies which resulted in a baseline report on Custody Management and led to the development of the Custody Management Guidelines signed off by the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court.
f. Other strategic policy interventions by the Ministry include the development of National Policy on Prosecution, Code of Conduct and Guidelines for Prosecutors
7. Promotion of Human Rights
a. Payment of Compensation by Federal Government of Nigeria for Apo Six Killings by Security Agents
In April 2018, my Office secured presidential approval which directed the DSS to pay the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-Five Million Naira (N135,000,000.00) as compensation to the families of victims of the Apo Six killing by security agents which occurred on 20 September 2013. The payment was in compliance with award/order made by the National Human Rights Commission on 7th April 2014 upon conclusion of investigation and public hearing in the case.
b. Re-Constitution of the National Committee Against Torture
• Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1987 (commonly known as the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). The Convention requires member States to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and to establish an independent National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to conduct inspections of all places of detention and closed environments.
• In line with this international obligation, the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) was re-constituted with high-level representatives of relevant Agencies. The NCAT has now been reorganized drawing its membership from such Agencies as National Human Rights Commission, the Police, Nigeria Correctional Services, among others.
• The NCAT is dedicated to monitoring and regularly visiting custodial centers such as prisons and other detention facilities, with a view to eliminating incidence of torture in these places, creating awareness and ensuring that anti-torture measures are inculcated in law enforcement and public institutions. These measures not only help to eliminate torture but also improve Nigeria’s international scorecard in the area of protection of human rights.
c. United Nations Universal Periodic Review of The Human Rights Situation In Nigeria
• The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council provides opportunity for all Member States to report on all actions taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries, and to ensure that citizens all over the world overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.
• Nigeria has demonstrated commitment to the UPR process as witnessed by Ministerial level participation in previous reviews, the last being in 2018 (Nigeria’s 3rd Review Cycle). Flowing from the successful participation in 2018, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation has begun preparations to kickstart the national consultation process and the review of implementation of the 290 accepted recommendations of Nigeria at the 2018 UPR, towards early preparation of the Nigeria National Document and meeting the deadline for submission of Nigeria’s Country Report to the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations in October, 2023.
8. Judiciary Interventions
a. The Ministry in conjunction with the Judiciary supported development of several practice direction for the speedy dispensation of Justice in criminal trials such as:
• Federal High Court Practice Direction (On Trial of Terrorism Cases) 2022
• FCT Practice Direction and Guidelines on Trial of SGBV Cases and Ancillary Procedure 2022
b. Salaries and Welfare of Judicial Officers
Committee on Review of Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service was empaneled in 2018 by HAGF out of the keen desire of the President to ensure that the nation’s judicial officers receive appropriate remuneration and to ensure that their Lordships discharge their critical functions in a conducive environment. In line with recommendation of the committee the President has approved increment in salaries and enhancement of allowances of judicial officers amongst other incentives. The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is currently working on modalities for implementation of the presidential approval.
I will now proceed to the Parastatals/Agencies under the Ministry of Justice:
1. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency SCORECARD FROM 2015 – 2022
The efforts in drug control by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was greatly increased from 2015 under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari. The Agency had struggled to keep abreast of narcotic control measures amidst various challenges which ranges from poor funding, dilapidated structures, very low manpower capacity, lack of operational/official vehicles etc.
In the midst of all these challenges, the President took deliberate steps to enhance funding for the Agency and approved recruitment of additional personnel to enhance its operations. Within the period under review, over 15,000 additional workforce has been added to the Agency.
2. Interdiction Scorecard from 2015 to 2022
i. Operational Efforts
The Agency’s interdiction capabilities were improved at airports, land borders and seaports through the use of cutting-edge technology like drug-detecting scanners and the Aletheia eye-based lie detector system which has led to increased drug seizures and arrest of suspected drug traffickers, drug barons and dismantling of several drug trafficking cartels.
ii. Arrests and Seizures
Between 2015 and 2021, the Agency made a total of 68,540 arrests. Within the same period, there were seizures of various hard drugs amounting to 3,136,166.59kg. A total of 5,546.81 hectares of cannabis farm were also destroyed.
iii. Litigation Efforts
There has been upward swing in convictions recorded by the Agency as follows:
1. In 2015, there were 1,690 convictions.
2. In 2016, 1,256 convictions were secured.
3. In 2017, 1,621 convictions were secured.
4. In 2018, 1,220 convictions were secured.
5. In 2019, 16,544 convictions were secured.
6. In 2020, 2,348 convictions were secured while 3,263 cases are pending.
iv. Other significant operations conducted by the Agency are as follows:
• Establishment of a 24/7 toll-free call centre for drug abusers, parents, employers of labour and members of the public who may need any form of help with guaranteed anonymity, confidentiality. The Centre receives calls in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo languages with dedicated and well trained psychologists, counsellors, mental health professionals. The toll-free number is 0800-1020-3040.
• Dismantling of two Clandestine Meth Laboratories used for the production of methamphetamine, commonly known as “Ice” or “Mkpuru Mmiri”. The labs were located at Victoria Garden City (VGC) Lagos State and Nise community in Anambra State.
• Arrest of 17,444 males and 1,496 females with a total of 3,657,185.85 kilogrammes of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances seized.
• Harm Reduction Policies
The Agency has also extended the Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC) training to several NGOs to empower them with the requisite skills and knowledge to build the capacity of others.
v. Asset Recovery Efforts
In order to deprive criminals from taking benefit of their illicit acts, the Agency has recovered various assets which were forfeited to the Federal Government. These included various sums in both local and foreign currencies, several automobiles and landed properties, boats, amongst others.
vi. Construction of NDLEA Barracks
The Agency has existed for about 32 years without getting its own barracks to house its personnel like other law enforcement agencies. History was however made when President Buhari gave approval in 2021 for the construction of NDLEA barracks across the country to enhance the security of personnel and their families.
2. Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS)
The Institute is regarded as the apex institution for research and advance studies in law in Nigeria. It has the mandate to conduct research into any branch of law with a view to providing information, supervision, guidance and advice to post-graduate students and other researchers in the field of law and law related subjects.
The Institute has continued to deepen its engagement in capacity building in recondite areas of law, as well as provision of legal advisory for stakeholders in the administration of justice to enhance service delivery in both the private and public sectors.
3. Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Lagos
The Centre was setup as an international arbitration institution with the objective of promoting commercial dispute resolution outside of litigation based on the UNCITRAL model. Its major functions and powers includes:
• the promotion of international commercial arbitration and conciliation; coordination and assistance to existing arbitration institutions; administration and conduct of institutional and ad-hoc arbitration; enforcement and assistance to enforce Arbitral Awards, etc. in the region of Asia and Africa and indeed globally.
• the Centre caters for the needs of the arbitration communities in the areas of provision of arbitration services, facilities for arbitration and other ADR methods, promotion, assistance to, and capacity building of professionals, institution for effective deployment and secure a wide range of patronage of the Centre’s services consistent with international best practices in dispute resolution here in Nigeria on the global stage.
• Promotion of arbitration in government contracts through the provision of model arbitration clause.
4. Nigerian Law Reform Commission
The Nigerian Law Reform Commission was established with a mandate to undertake research into and review all Federal laws with a view to their systematic and progressive development and reform in consonance with prevailing norms of Nigeria Society. In pursuance to its mandate, the Commission has successfully carried out:-
• Review of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, LFN, 2004 and Related Provisions of the Constitution.
• Review of Tax Laws in Nigeria: Companies Income Tax Act, Cap. C21, LFN, 2004.
• Completion of the Reform and Unification of the Criminal and Penal Code.
• Review of Tax Laws in Nigeria: Personal Income Tax Act, Cap. P8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. The reform of this Act is in furtherance of the government economic reform policy to engender economic development of the country.
• Reform of the Laws on Rape and Other Sexual Offences. The aim is to curb the increasing and divergent cases of rape in Nigeria by redefining the offence of rape in the Criminal and Penal Codes in line with Violence Against Persons’ Act (VAP), 2015.
• Reform of the Finance (Control and Management) Act, 1958 (now Cap. F26, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004)
• Revision of Volumes 1-14 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
5. Legal Aid Council
The mandate of the Council is to provide free legal assistance and representation in all criminal matters, and to Nigerians in conflict with the Law in civil disputes in order to promote access to Justice
In the period under review, the Council has undertaken the following:
i. legal aid services to about 57,134 citizens and completed several cases.
ii. recovered the sum of N57,390,928.62 (Fifty-Seven Million, Three Hundred and Ninety as claims/compensation for victims of motor accident.
iii. provided defense for about 224 suspects arraigned before the Federal High Court for the offences of Terrorism.
iv. Constituted a special task force to speedily handle these cases and this led to the recent release of 30 ATPs from Keffi Correctional Centre.
v. filed applications for the enforcement of fundamental rights of 101 ATPs at Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre who have spent over 10 years in custody without trial before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
vi. I am also pleased to report that the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme currently operates in 11 states across the country including Kaduna, Ondo, Imo, Sokoto, Federal Capital Territory, Kebbi, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Nasarawa and Plateau States. This operation has successfully diverted over 7,000 persons from the criminal justice system and 90% of this number left police custody during their first 5 days of arrest.
6. Council of Legal Education (Nigerian Law School)
The Council was established to provide legal education of persons seeking to become Members of the Legal profession which responsibility it discharges through the seven campuses of the Nigerian Law School. Council has achieved the following:
• In the period under the review, the Council has commenced a window to admit backlog of graduates from National Open University of Nigeria.
• Clearing of backlog of over 10,000 students arising from over admission by some Universities.
• Enhancement of curriculum to reflect emerging trends in the field of law and adoption of interactive method which has made the programme at the school more student focused in line with the Law and vocational nature of the school as well as best practises.
• The Council established quality assurance unit to ensure uniform delivery of academic programme across its Campuses and advise on common physical facilities.
• The Council gave approval and facilitated the establishment of the Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, in Port Harcourt which was commissioned on 18 NOVEMBER 2022.
7. Nigerian Copyright Commission
• The Nigerian Copyright Commission was established by the Copyright Act and its mandate includes the administration, enforcement, promotion and regulation of copyright in Nigeria. In order to actualize its vision and mission within the purview of its statutory mandate and to align its operations to the overarching national development imperatives of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commission, formulated and adopted a Medium Term Corporate Plan and Strategy (MTCPS).
• The MTCPS was built on broad objectives including, strengthening of human and institutional capacity, improvement of policy and legal framework, enhancement of copyright awareness and education, among others. The Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of Nigeria, ratified and deposited four (4) international copyright treaties Nigeria is signatory to, at the October 2017 General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Geneva, Switzerland.
• The Commission has also conceptualized and executed programmes with the primary objective of changing the copyright narrative and advancing the growth of the creative industry in Nigeria to enhance economic development through deliberate capacity building, awareness creation and intensified consultations with stakeholders in the sector.
• Other achievements of the Copyright Commission include development of Copyright e-Registration System which enables copyright owners to register their works online with the Commission from any part of the world, development of a pilot edition of the National Works List which is the database of works deposited by right owners with the Commission, strengthening Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) in Nigeria through collaboration with the Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organization (IFRRO).
• In fulfilment of its mandate, between 2019 – 2021 the Commission seized about 95,068 pirated works with a monetary value of N84,722,400.00.
• In conclusion I wish to state that the Ministry has relentlessly been contributing its quota to the running of government and fulfilling the promises of delivering good governance based on Rule of Law and sound Democratic values in accordance with best practice.
• Let me use this opportunity to express the profound gratitude of the Ministry to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, His Excellency, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for their immeasurable support to the Ministry in conceptualizing and implementing our various programs and projects.
• I also wish to acknowledge the support of the members of the National Assembly in their exercise of appropriation and oversight powers and other collaborations with the Ministry in the passage of various equally wish to appreciate the Judiciary for unalloyed support, collaborations and cooperation towards the attainment of the mandate of the Ministry.
• The Ministry and its Parastatals have equally benefitted from the support of several Diplomatic Missions, Civil Society Organizations and Donor Organizations, for which we are immensely grateful.
• I must sincerely acknowledge the role which the press had constantly made in disseminating the activities of the Ministry and its Parastatals.
Abubakar Malami, SAN, CON Is Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,
Kidnapped School ChildrenYauri FGC Students, Kebbi
588 days 2 hours 17 minutes 46 seconds,
Baptist School Students, Kaduna
570 days 3 hours 59 minutes 11 seconds
Tegina Islamiya Pupils, Niger (Freed)
Report By: PRNigeria.com