President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Judiciary that the anti-graft war being carried out by his administration was not targeted at them. He made this statement during the 2017 All Nigerian Judges conference, held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja on Monday.
He maintained that the recent investigations involving some judicial staff were in no way a prelude to usurping the powers of the National Judicial Council as wrongly portrayed in some media.
He said, “My lords, earlier this year the Judiciary came under investigation. Let me again assure the judicial community, this action taken by the Executive was in no way a prelude to usurping the powers of the National Judicial Council or aimed at intimidating the Judiciary as wrongly portrayed in some sections of the media. Executive and legislative officials were also investigated.
The president said he is aware “that the majority of judicial officers are learned and incorruptible and day in day out acting in the best spirit of their oath of office.” He reiterated the commitment of his administration’s to accord the Judiciary its constitutional rights.
He saluted the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, for his recent decision that all judges at the lower courts to provide a comprehensive list of all corruption and financial crimes cases so to designate special courts to handle them. “I support your action and the public is awaiting the results of this initiative,” he said.
The President, however, urged the judiciary to be fair, impartial, and ensure speedy dispensation of justice. He noted that there are already numerous backlogs of cases waiting to be judged especially at the appellate levels.
He told the judiciary that the reforms should start “at eliminating these seemingly endless delays in settling what to the layman are apparently simple cases.”
President Buhari lamented the problem of court cases dragging on for too years and sometimes decades without resolution. He said, “I need only mention land cases in Lagos to illustrate my point. Again, litigants expect that higher courts should endeavor to harmonize their rulings.