Nigerian Govt saves billions over cases won both National, Int’l

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) Abubakar Malami, has stated that over billions of naira have been saved for the Federal Government over cases won in different courts both National and International. He made the statement during his Ministerial Performance Report from May 2019 to July 2020 and Workshop organised specifically for the Judiciary Correspondents, in Abuja, on Tuesday, while enumerating on his scorecard.

Malami said in the Civil Litigation department, the percentage of the number of civil cases handled, are as follows; 60% were handled on human right matters, they have succeeded in saving Federal Government Ten (10) Billion Naira cost levelling on the claim arriving from those fundamental human right cases that were litigated in the court. About 25% of the cases were on contract and he is happy to report that they have equally succeeded in saving FG of about 3.5-billion-naira cost relating to claims associated with the contract.

Malami explained that 15% of the cases handled were related to land. He said 90 of the cases are in the court of Appeal and Supreme Court; 100 of the cases handled by the National Industrial Court; 110 were in States High Court and the FCT; and 400 cases were litigated at the Federal High Court. Furthermore, he said that, for cases litigated at the Federal High Court which were 50 in number relating to component thereof, the Ministry saved the Federal Government One billion seven-hundred and sixty-five million and fifteen thousand naira(N1,765,015,000) relating to the cases they were handled before the Federal High Court.

‘’On the case that were litigated before the ECOWAS Court, the Ministry has succeeded in saving for the government One Hundred and fifty million naira (N150,000,000) and Eight hundred million dollars ($800,000,000) as it relates to the cases handled at State High Court and amongst others. He implored the Federal Executive Council to consider the need for deliberate resources allocation to the justice sector to facilitate effective service delivery.

The AGF called on Federal Executive Council (FEC) to kindly encourage effective and efficient collaboration among institutions in the justice sector, particularly institutions involved in Criminal Justice Administration (ACJA). He asked the FEC to further support the deployment of technology in the administration of justice to facilitate on affiliate and effective justice service-delivery.

He called on them to encourage governments at all levels to demonstrate the political will to implement the various justice sector reform legislation and regulations. He added that this in no doubt will promote justice delivery and the rule of law in the country.

Earlier, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) Dayo Apata, SAN in his welcome address, noted the growing interest by the general public in what the judiciary sector does, particularly in criminal cases, election litigations, fight against corruption, among others underscores the importance of the media in creating the much-needed awareness that helped in shaping public opinion and perception in that direction.

Apata further said that the media coverage of the judiciary could demonstrate that justice is served, and criminals are punished. He added that in as much as the media may expose wrong doings in many systems, effective coverage of the justice sector also help prevent injustices by shining spotlight on the actions of the judges, lawyers and other participants in the justice system.

“Despite the importance of the coverage, complain abounds that news organizations send journalists out to do stories with little training about the complexities of the justice system and intricacies of the complex operations in a society with multiple backgrounds and perceptions” he observed. He noted that members of the public also complain about sensationalistic reporting, inaccurate presentation of facts or mutilation of context while covering the judiciary sector adding that there are also issues of contempt of court, media trails among others.

He further explained that “it is in the light of the above that the ministry saw the need for capacity building workshops to strengthen the skills of the journalists with a view of achieving efficient and effective coverage of the justice sector”. Apata pointed that the benefits of such capacity building engagement are multi-dimensional; for the journalists, media organizations, justice sector and the general public. The Special Assistant on Media to the HAGF, Dr Umar Gwandu while training the judiciary correspondents enumerated the journalistic ethics, where he mentioned the implication of fake news through dis-information, mis-information and mal-information which can set the country on fire if not well handled.

Gwandu encouraged the journalists to be sure of facts and figures in their reportage. In her vote of thanks, the Deputy-Director Press and Public Relations of the ministry, Modupe Ogundoro thanked everybody for honouring the invitation despite their tight schedule. She also emphasised that the HAGF’s office is always available to attend to journalists at any point in time.

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