Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federarion, Abubakar Malami SAN, as the Chief Law Officer of the country has been a great reformer of judicial system, particularly in this trying time of COVID-19 that all states are trying to protect the sanctity of human lives.
Since his assumption of office on November 11 2015, and his subsequent reappointment as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation in President Buhari’s second term, Malami has not wavered in his commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, thereby strengthening the nationhood and livelihood of the citizenry.
Malami’s intervention into the kerfuffle of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki’s cases is one that lent further credence to the fact that in promoting human rights and a strong rule of law, culture, he is second to none. Its lusciousness in respect to noting that in less than two weeks of taking over the cases from the State Security Service (SSS), the duo were released. A courtesy of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation and in line with his visionary leadership, defense of state corporate interest and his usual concern on equality before the law, and, above all the protection of human rights.
Concerned about the human rights and state of Inmates across Correctional centres of the country, Malami envisioned the dire need for general review and decongestion of Prisons. To this end, the Federal Ministry of Justice under his watch had on October 2017, constituted the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service and Reform with the erstwhile Honourable Chief Judge, of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Honourable Justice I.U Bello as the chairman, to fast-track the Decongestion of Correctional centres.
The Committee secured the release of a total number of 3,768 prisoners during visits to over 34 prisons in 16 states across the country. Since then, Nigeria Correctional centres was being fine-tuned and impression of human right concern was ensured which was unarguably different before Malami assumed office.
Malami’s commitment to speedy trial and administration of justice in clover with his exertion to ensure a Nigeria where justice is discharge timeously is obvious. As a legal ace, he understood the need to restrategize the model in which the suspected cases of Boko Haram terrorists and other accused persons cases was handle until proven guilty. Therefore, he directed Members of Complex Casework Group (CCG) in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice under his close supervision and reviewed all the case files and the affected individuals and the Ministry provided legal opinion based on the facts of the cases, evidence available and relevant laws. The Office also provided prosecutorial services where evidence to sustain a charge was established. And this process facilitated the discharge of 896 persons for want of evidence and conviction of 366 persons. A courtesy of the of human right crusade and champion of Nigeria’s justice system.
Fast forward to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami’s contribution toward human rights policies initiation in Nigeria was tremendously impactful and surface transparency in the administration of justice. Some of which was before his assumption in to the office thought as arduous and herculean which include but not limited to;
*Implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act
*National Correctional Service Act
*Enhancement of the Access to Justice
*Movement for the Socio-Economic Right
*Apo Six Killings by Security Agents
*Passing of Legislations in line with International Human Rights
In the spirit of great determination of a visionary leader, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami SAN has already modeled post-COVID-19 justice system, and a workable digital plan which is in line with the on-going Implementation of National Policy of Justice and the fully adoption of Judiciary Information Technology Policy which was in place since 2012. This is to leverage technology in the administration of justice in order to cushion the effect of covid-19 for proper speedy and discharge of justice in Nigeria. These all are a courtesy of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami SAN. And these are just a few among his laudable achievement toward the promotion of human right, administration of justice yet It rightly position him as a champion of Nigeria’s Justice system.
Rabiu Musa writes from Bayero University, Kano and can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org