Justice Minister advocates strengthening Nigerian laws, institutions

Chukwumerije Aja, Enugu

The Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has challenged the Nigerian Law Reform Committee to embark on measures to strengthen the nation’s law and institutions.

Malami also reiterated that the cardinal focus of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is the focus on the fight against corruption among others.

The AGF made this known when he received the report by the Chairman of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Mr. Kefas Magaji and other members of the Commission in Abuja.

Malami pointed out that, “It is against the background of that direction amongst others that I consider it necessary and material to urge the Law Reform Commission to look at the possibility of strengthening our laws and institutions that are intended to provide focus and direction as it relates to fighting against corruption drive.”

The Minister further explained that, “Institutions like Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investment and Security Tribunal; Tax Appeal Tribunal has a great role to play as far as fight against corruption policy of the Federal Government is concern.”

Malami stated further that the laws relating to the above institutions definitely requires certain reforms that will eventually bring them in line with the international best practices and that the time is now ripe for the Commission to look in that direction to see which way and manner they can support the position of the Federal Government as it relates to the fight against corruption through the institutional reforms that will now make these institutions more efficient, more effective  and alive to their responsibilities.

The Minister affirmed that the presentation of the report on the reform of Federal laws has been embarked upon by the Commission which in effect aims at strengthening the legal framework through amendments’, refill and re-enactment of the laws under consideration.

He commended the Commission for a job well done, because they started not only with the review of the law but coming up with the draft bills and also provided a soft copy to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

He said:“That has greatly assisted the nation and indeed leaving my work to perhaps the presentation of the relevant Council memo for the consideration of the draft bills and indeed subject to the affirmation and confirmation or ratification of the Federal Executive Council and transmit the same to the National Assembly for passage”.

Malami reiterated further on the enumerated submission report, stressing that the Commission has considered the deficiency and lacuna associated with some of the laws, especially the lacuna associated with the sale of food act against the background of the fact that they are not in existence, a Federal legislation in that direction.

Equally the International obligation of the nation as it relates to the United Nation Convention against Torture and in so doing bring out afar in the International Community on issues that borders on torture and associated infractions.

The Reform Commission equally gave consideration to Public Order Act to keep it in line with constitutional right of the Freedom of Association, thereby eliminating possibilities of inconsistence in the laws.

Also, equally considered is  the restructuring public confidence on the use of cheques through making proposal for associated and enactment and more especially you have touch all aspects of the legal framework that will add barely onto the existing legal framework through strengthening them.

The AGF added that, “What you have demonstrated today by ways of reforms, that you have presented in terms of report and draft bills has indeed testify to the fact that you are alive to your responsibilities and with demand in that respect, you are indeed ready and able to provide the necessary spot that will now advance the interest of the nation as it relates to the fight against corruption”.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Kefas Magaji disclosed that the report on Reform of the Public Order Act is essentially to enable the application and observance of fundamental rights of the people in the conduct of assemblies, meetings and processions on public roads, public resorts and wherever they may direct the conducts to, in line with the rule of law and good governance.

The draft (amendment) Bill seeks to replace the requirement of licence under the existing law with the requirement of the notice to the police for public assemblies, meetings and processions and also provide for upward review of penalties in the Act.

Kefas added that the reform of the Dishonoured Cheques (offences) Act is therefore targeted at improving the provisions of the Act to eliminate fraud and ensure a corruption free society.