Your Excellencies, esteemed Judges, and distinguished guests, I extend cordial greetings on behalf of the 10th Senate. It is an honour to address this esteemed gathering on a matter of paramount importance: “Preventing Corruption and Breaches of Integrity in the Justice Sector: The Role of the Legislature.”
I express gratitude for the privilege to contribute to this crucial discourse at the All Nigeria Judges’ Conference of Superior Courts, held at Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium, National Judicial Institute, Abuja, on November 14, 2023
Before my foray into politics, I proudly stood as a lawyer, providing me with a profound understanding of the intricacies plaguing the justice sector. I represent Nigeria’s legislature and people as the Senate President and National Assembly Chairman. Today, I address the imperative of legislative interventions in eradicating corruption and fortifying integrity within the justice sector.
I extend heartfelt appreciation to the judiciary for its selfless service to our nation, often the bedrock of democracy and the last resort for the common man. The challenges faced by the judiciary, as voiced by retiring justices, demand our collective attention, and as a legislative body, we are committed to playing our part.
Our collective endeavour requires intentional legislative action to eliminate corruption and integrity breaches. The objective is to forge a just, accountable, and reliable justice system that serves the best interests of every citizen. Recognizing the challenges faced by our judicial officers, we are resolute in our determination to improve their welfare through intentional appropriations.
The commitment of the current administration, under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu GCFR, to enhance the welfare of our judges is commendable. The legislature stands firmly behind this determination, recognizing the burdens placed on judicial officers who grapple with monumental conflicts while contending with mundane survival needs. The legislature is poised to improve the judiciary through intentional appropriations.
The noticeable decline in the number of justices on the Supreme Court bench below constitutional requirements is national interest. The legislature is prepared to promptly initiate due legal processes to address this shortfall, underscoring the unique relationship between the judiciary and the legislature.
“Legislative Strategies for Judicial Integrity”
The symbiotic relationship between the judiciary and the legislature calls for collaborative efforts. Stringent resource allocation and transparent and merit-based appointments and removals are measures the legislature will entrench to support the justice sector in regaining its glory. Continuous training on ethical standards, anti-corruption measures for judicial officers, and public education on rights and legal processes will be prioritized.
Integrating technology in court proceedings and case management is crucial to increasing speed and transparency and reducing opportunities for corruption and integrity breaches. Recognizing the urgent need for institutional and legal reforms to address delays in justice delivery, the legislature is contemplating a bill to streamline cases, ensuring that not every matter reaches the Supreme Court.
In conclusion, the commitment of the 10th Assembly to preventing corruption and upholding integrity within the justice sector is resolute. Robust legislative measures will be taken to address the challenges faced by our justice sector. With these interventions and strategic moves, the 10th Assembly is dedicated to enhancing the administration of justice and improving service delivery nationwide.
I seek the bench’s support to strengthen the integrity and capacity of our judges through proactive legislative interventions, resulting in a fair, independent, and justice-driven judiciary with improved public perception.
I wish you all quality and successful deliberations at this conference.
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