Concerned by the increasing number of contradictory judgments from the Judiciary, the Federal Government has committed to a comprehensive overhaul of the justice system in the country. Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, announced this during the kickoff of a two-day meeting of the Body of Attorneys-General (BOAG) in Abuja.
While acknowledging the mounting complaints about recent court judgments, Fagbemi dismissed the notion that public confidence in the judiciary is at an all-time low. He emphasized the need to address the grey areas in the justice system, stating, “We will do our utmost best to holistically address all the grey areas.”
Regarding the proposal to separate the office of the AGF from that of the Minister of Justice, Fagbemi mentioned that the issue would be revisited at the appropriate time, considering input from well-informed individuals.
The AGF also expressed concern about the escalating debt profiles of the federal government and state governments, emphasizing the dangers and challenges it poses to the national economy. He highlighted initiatives by the Federal Ministry of Justice to collaborate with specialized firms to enhance the skills of Legal Officers in drafting agreements and identifying potential areas of dispute.
The meeting’s agenda focused on utilizing the platform to resolve problems and frictions arising from shared constitutional and statutory responsibilities. Additionally, discussions centered on strengthening the justice sector, particularly the administration of criminal justice, to achieve justice goals and meet citizens’ expectations.
Fagbemi urged colleagues to ensure the full implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary, invest in technology for court operations, and build the capacities of the judiciary. Plans for a National Summit on Justice, the revised National Justice Policy, and constructive engagement with the legislative arm of government were also highlighted during the meeting.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, emphasized the need for stakeholders to interact and devise creative solutions to address challenges in the justice sector, including security, crimes, anti-corruption mechanisms, and access to justice. The meeting involved Attorneys General from the 36 states, along with Chairmen of Judiciary Committees from the Senate and the House of Representatives.