Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Anti-corruption war: Lawyers tackle Buhari

– Lawyers have tackled President
Buhari for accusing the judiciary
of frustrating the speedy
determination of corruption cases
– NBA president said Buhari
should put some things in place
for the judiciary to perform its
role without inhibitions
– A lawyer, Amobi Nzelu, said
Buhari should be patient and
allow the judiciary do its work
Lawyers have called on President
Muhammadu Buhari to put in place
an enabling environment for judges
perform their duties optimally.
The lawyers were reacting to
Buhari’s comment that the judiciary
was frustrating the war against
Speaking at the at the National
Judicial Institute, Abuja while
declaring open a workshop on the
“Roles of Judiciary in the fight
corruption”, Buhari said corruption
cases filed by government are not
progressing as speedily as they
should because the courts allow
some lawyers to frustrate the
reforms introduced by law.
Reacting to this, the Nigerian Bar
Association (NBA) said the
prosecution of criminal cases
follows due processes and laid
down procedures recognised by law
before arriving at conviction, Daily
Sun reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari and a
cross section of Nigerian Judges

Austin Alegeh (SAN), the NBA
president, said: “The president
should put some things in place for
the judiciary to perform its role
without inhibitions. In other climes,
you don’t necessarily need to bring
an accused person to court before
his trial can continue. There are
cameras that connect an accused
person from prison to court so that
he doesn’t need to come to court .
“Here, there are no such facilities and
the federal government who is
expected to produce  an accused
person in court sometimes don’t do
that. In such a situation, Judges and
lawyers will be waiting for an
accused who is being held in
custody by the federal government.
This is the same federal government
that wants corruption cases to be
speedily dispensed with.
“In this same country, our Judges
are still taking notes in long hand
instead of by electronic system.
These and many more are the
problems working against the speedy
trial of corruption cases. I can say
that the judiciary is doing its best
within its available resources and
working environment .”
Also speaking, Joe Agi (SAN), said
the judiciary can do nothing without
the support of the prosecution
and defense counsel.

He noted that every accused
person is presumed innocent until
proven guilty by a competent court
of law.
“I always say this and I will repeat it,
EFCC and other law enforcement
agencies will do the nation and
society a lot of good if they operate
within the ambit of the law which say
investigation before arrest.
“Here, you find them arresting
someone before investigations are
conducted. So the problem is
squarely that of the investigation
agencies prosecution; let them do
their homework well and then trial
will be concluded within six months, ”
Agi said.
Another lawyer, Vincent Otaokpukpu
said the judiciary cannot take the
blame alone as it was not the only
stakeholder in the administration of
criminal justice.
He said other stakeholders including
the police, EFCC, prosecution and
prison should share in the blame as
they contribute in the delay of
cases in court.
On his part, Amobi Nzelu expressed
appreciation for Buhari’s anti-
corruption war, saying the judiciary
was doing its best.
He urged the president to be
patient and allow the judiciary to
do its work.