Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has claimed that the National Assembly refused to pass a bill for the creation of special courts to try corruption cases sent by the executive.
In a statement released on Thursday, Falana said their refusal to pass the bill caused corruption cases to be delayed in courts which were already congested with other cases.
“As part of anti-corruption policy of the Mohammadu Buhari administration an executive bill for the establishment of a special court clothed with exclusive jurisdiction to try corruption cases was submitted to the national assembly. Although it was submitted over a year ago the federal legislators have not deemed it fit to pass the crucial bill into law for reasons best known to them. Hence corruption cases have been subjected to inordinate delays in our courts which are congested with many other cases,” he said.
Falana described the intervention of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, as decisive.
“However, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen has intervened in a decisive manner by issuing a directive to all heads of courts in Nigeria to create special courts for the exclusive trial of corruption cases.
“The chief justice deserves commendation for the radical initiative. No doubt, the timely intervention of the chief justice will go a long way to speed up the trial of corruption cases in all our courts.
“To make a success of the directive the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the chief judges of the states and the federal capital territory should be directed by the chief justice of Nigeria to issue practice directions to accelerate the determination of corruption cases.
“In addition, the supreme court (criminal appeals) practice directions 2013; court of appeal (criminal appeals) practice directions 2013 and court of appeal (fast track) practice directions 2014 as well as the federal high court practice directions 2013 issued by the heads of the respective courts should be put to use as they are designed to give priority to the trial and appeals arising from cases of corruption, money laundering, terrorism, rape and kidnapping and human trafficking.
“To obviate undue delay in the determination of corruption cases the practice directions have made special provision for the service of processes on parties by electronic mail addresses, facsimile number and GSM Telephone number or any other available mode of communication,” he added.
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