Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), has called on the new Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, to urgently undertake reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.
He also called for the creation of a national prosecution agency, with the unbundling of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Agbakoba in a statement Monday said there were pressing tasks to be carried out urgently by the new Attorney General of the Federation.
According to him, “Major reforms of the criminal justice system with particular reference to the utter confusion in the duplicated work of our law enforcement agencies in particular, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), is urgently needed.
“Also there is a need to unbundle EFCC and restrict them to investigation only while a new National Prosecution Agency ought to be established.
“Another key reform would be a complete decentralised Police Force at local state and federal levels.
“Major revamp of our outdated laws is urgently needed to follow the Rwanda example that modified 1000 laws.
“Last but not least, the AGF must work on Speed of Justice. It’s a crying shame it takes upwards of 15 years to conclude cases from the High court to the Supreme Court.
“Finally, but not exhausted is to create sector specific dispute resolution Agencies to free up the utterly cluttered dockets of the regular courts.
“The other very important task before the Attorney General will be the unnecessary and wholly inefficient matter of over-centralisation of our superior courts.”
Agbakoba suggested that “There is no better time than now to hack down the highly centralised court systems in Nigeria.
“The AGF is invited to consider major constitutional amendments to create a system of federal and state courts.
“State courts ought to have exclusive jurisdiction over matters related to them. This is also the case for federal courts whose jurisdiction must be limited to federal causes.
“This will free up the clutter at the Supreme Court and make it the policy court it ought to be in the first place.”
He strongly believed that “We have a brilliant AGF in Lateef Fagbemi SAN. I am convinced this will be a simple task for him.
“He is a very good colleague and I have the highest confidence in his abilities.”