President Mohammadu Buhari has urged the judiciary to remain impartial and non-partisan in the fight against corruption.
The President said this while declaring open an international workshop on the role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, which held at the national judicial institute, on Monday in Abuja.
He acknowledged that the responsibility of the judiciary in a democratic society is critical as the Judiciary is one of the three pillars of the modern democratic nation state and is essential to the process of checks and balances, which are fundamental to the way societies are meant to operate and function.
President Buhari, while recognizing the tremendous efforts the judiciary is making to foster justice and accountability in Nigeria, also pointed out that there are persisting challenges that confront the criminal justice system.
He added that corruption is a global phenomenon which knows no boundaries as it exists in and affects all countries and is a threat to peace, stability, sustainable development, democracy, and human rights around the globe.
“Therefore, a fair and efficient judiciary is the key to all anti-corruption initiatives,” he said, and added: “The Judiciary must take steps to ensure that it is not seen as being partisan. As such, it must be aware of the sensitivities of the public and take steps towards avoiding even a shred of a doubt as regards its independence,
“In justice, integrity is necessary. Hence, Judicial Officers and all other members of this profession must always demonstrate manifest integrity,” the President said.
Buhari also urged the judiciary to make sure that justice is never delayed, especially with regards to criminal matters.
He said: “Critically important also, is the sacred duty of the judiciary to ensure that criminal justice administration is not delayed,
“I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers.
“When cases are not concluded, the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they should in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law.
“This certainly needs to change if we have to make success of our collective effort in the fight against corruption,” He lamented.
President Buhari added that the “eradication of corruption is a joint task involving not only judges and members of the legal profession, but all stakeholders, including all branches of Government, the media, the civil society and the general citizenry.”