*To reposition for better service delivery
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has revealed that the Federal Ministry of Justice has prosecuted a total of 6,646 criminal cases in the last legal year from 2015 to 2016, stating that the Department of Public Prosecutions is saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting all crimes against the State.
Malami also highlighted as part of the activities and achievements of the Ministry that the Department of Civil Litigation concluded over 325 out of 1,330 civil cases within the period under review.
Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in a press statement made available on Tuesday added that the Minister revealed that more than 90% of the matters determined within the time frame was decided in favour of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to press release, the AGF stated this at a press briefing which served as prelude to a special meeting he had with the management of the Ministry in Abuja to take stock and with a view to reposition for better service delivery.
The statement further disclosed that the AGF reaffirmed that the Ministry is the Federal Government’s primary institution for the administration of Justice with an overall mandate for the articulation, promotion and defence of Constitutional values and principles in the governance of the Federation.
“However, these cases reflects on different criminal conducts and omissions bothering on terrorism, oil theft, culpable homicide, rape, armed robbery, fatal accident, unlawful possession of arms, criminal negligence amongst others’’, he explained.
He also insisted that the Ministry must be consistent in maintaining its mandate of making justice accessible to all, consistent with the ideals of democracy and rule of law.
The AGF disclosed that “within 2016/2017 judicial year, the department of Civil Litigation under the leadership watch and guide of Mr. Dayo Apata, the new Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, accumulatively saved the Federal Government a total sum of N119,217,179,105.00 (One Hundred and Nineteen Billion, Two Hundred and Seventeen Million, One Hundred and Seventy Nine Thousand, One hundred and Five Naira) and $14,696,532.00 (Fourteen Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Two US Dollars).
“Similarly, the Civil Litigation Department in FHC/L/CS1200/2015: PPULAR FARMS&MILLS LTD VS. MINISTER OF AGRIC. & RURAL DEV. & ORS was able to stop the Plaintiff from avoiding the stamp duty of N10,680,690,109.69 (Ten Billion, Six Hundred and Eighty Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Thousand, One Hundred and Nine Naira, Sixty-Nine kobo) payable to FGN through the Nigeria Customs Service.
In that matter, the Department was able to sustain Government policy on rice importation which was made with the intention to bridge the supply gap and ensure price stability of the commodity in the build up to self-sufficiency in rice production in Nigeria”, he stated.
The AGF proactively proposed institutional reforms for better performance to enable the nation meet up with contemporary law enforcement strategies and Rule of Law in the following directions: Creation of Coordinating Centre for all Federal Government Criminal Justice Agencies, Establishment of Investigation Unit, Prison Reform and Decongestion Program, Creation of Judgment Debt Verification and Compliance Committee and Establishment of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation’s Quarterly Colloquium.
He further stated that the Ministry plays a very significant role in the executive branch’s interface with the judiciary and through its legislative drafting functions plays crucial roles in law-making activities of the legislative arm of government.
The Minister assured that compliance and full implementation of the intuitional and policy reforms aimed at repositioning the Ministry will attract the necessary reforms that will present the Nigeria Justice Sector as the most viable and efficient justice system in the world.