President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari has has challenged the Nigeria Bar Association to work towards reforming the Nigerian judicial processes to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice in the country.
President Buhari posed the challenge through the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN who represented him and indeed read his opening remarks while declaring open the NBA Annual General Conference holding virtually on Wednesday.
The President wants to see judicial reforms that will fast track all court cases so that the longest will be a maximum of 15 months.
“Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement,” he said.
“We cannot afford to have the stitches come undone. The first issue I would like to commend to your consideration is the terribly slow pace of trials in our courts.”
For President Buhari, fixing a time limit as has been done with cases in the Supreme Court might lead to speedy trials.
“My question then is that why can’t we have timeliness on all cases? Why can’t we put in place the rules that will state that a criminal trial all the way to the Supreme Court must not exceed 12 months in duration?
“Why can’t we do the same for civil cases even if we say it that civil cases must not go beyond 15 months – between 12 and 15 months? I think that for me will be stepping forward.
“The question of speed raises a related concern in the context of a competitive global economy, a speed of our legal institutions and processes must match up with the global pace of transactions,” he said.
Besides speedy dispensation of court cases, President Buhari noted that multiple and conflicting court orders are making a mockery of the judicial process while highlighting the need for reforms in that area.