21 September 2017

Nigeria: EFCC Hails Move to Prioritise Corruption Cases in Nigerian Courts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has commended the move by the Nigerian judiciary to prioritise corruption and financial crime cases brought before it.

A statement by spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, in Abuja on Wednesday quoted the commission's Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, as describing the development as right step in the right direction.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, had announced the initiative at the opening of the 2017/2018 Legal Year in Abuja on Monday.

Mr. Onnoghen directed all heads of courts to compile and forward comprehensive lists of corruption and financial crime cases before them to the National Judicial Council, NJC.

He said where such cases came on appeal to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, special dates should be fixed for them every week.

"In order for the NJC to monitor and effectively enforce the foregoing policy, anti-corruption cases trial monitoring committee will be constituted at the next council meeting," the Chief Justice had announced.

"This committee would be saddled with, among other things, the responsibility of ensuring that both trial and appellate courts handling corruption and financial crime cases key into and abide by our renewed efforts at ridding our country of the cankerworm," he said.

He also directed heads of courts to clamp down on both prosecution and defence counsel who indulged in delay tactics to stall criminal trials.

The EFCC boss lauded the initiative, which he said would curtail "unnecessary delays in prosecution of corruption cases."

According to Mr. Uwujaren, Mr. Magu expressed optimism that the innovation would strengthen the fight against economic and financial crimes in the country.

"The spate of frivolous and unwarranted adjournments at instances of defence for the purpose of stalling proceedings is over," Mr. Magu was quoted as saying.

"With special courts, cases stand great chance of being disposed of quickly.

"We had clamoured for the creation of special or dedicated courts for over six years.

"So, the action of the CJN is commendable."

Nigeria

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