Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, says Nigeria’s judiciary “is bedevilled by funding inadequacies”.
The AGF made the complaint on Monday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, at the 2022 budget defence.
He was accompanied by acting Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Etsu, and Director Public Prosecution, M. B. Abubakar.
Malami listed the prime drivers of maturing democracies like Nigeria as Rule of Law, Due Process of the Law, Human Rights, International Obligations and Allied Matters.
The AGF said evidence reveals that the Administration of Justice which guarantees sustainable peace, equity and fair play is undeniably capital intensive.
In the circumstance, we need to reconceptualise the existing funding pattern of the Justice sector. Practically all the Parastatals under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Justice are in dire need of funding.
“This is as dangerous as it is disturbing because funding gaps in the face of competing challenges could endanger effective administration of Justice, and cause unwarranted travesty of Justice.”
Malami reminded the National Assembly that the Justice sector is not primarily a revenue-generating sub-sector because constitutional obligations revolve around social services geared towards a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
As a subsector, our revenue derives essentially from our constitutional activities and returns such as Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Stamp Duties, Returns on DTA, Certified True Copies, earnings from the use of government halls, Tenders Fees, earnings from sales of government unserviceable vehicles, sales of law books and journals and rent of government properties.”
Malami disclosed his ministry’s efforts to get some cost of collection from recovered funds to finance our recovery operations.
He said there are large sums of illicit money stashed abroad, assuring that the AGF’s office, EFCC and ICPC are working to recover.
Malami confirmed the ministry handles public prosecution and civil litigation for the federation and sometimes outsources such services particularly, as it relates to being prosecuted internally where state counsels have legal limitations to court appearances.
We all know that legal services (especially litigations) are not cheap. Furthermore, the Justice Sector reforms we are currently undertaking are costly to execute. We, therefore, need your kind support with adequate funding to successfully prosecute them.
To prevent reoccurrence of a case similar to P&ID, Council directed HAGF to present a memo for the establishment of a Federal Taskforce to review and validate contracts, judgments and arbitral awards and implement the Federal Verification System to prevent abuses similar to the P&ID case.
Council directed the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to incorporate the funding requirements of a Federal Contracts Administration System (FCAS) in Nigeria in the Federal Ministry of Justice’s 2022 Budget proposal.
As 2022 beckons, I am looking forward to a more refreshing feeling of a common bond between the Justice sub-sector and all the Distinguish Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a seamless administration of Justice in Nigeria”, Malami added.