By Aliyu Dangida
DUTSE—FORMER Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, GCON, has accused the National Assembly, NASS, of sitting on relevant bills that would aid quick administration of justice in the country.
Musdapher said that some of the bills he submitted to the two chambers of NASS while serving as CJN in 2012, for consideration and passage were still to be attended to, adding that even the Freedom of Information, FOI, Bill which passed into law was due to much pressure from Nigerians.
He named some of the bills waiting for the attention of NASS members to include, the “Remuneration of the former Presidents, Heads of State, Government of the Federation, Prime Ministers, Heads of Legislative Houses and Chief Justices of Nigeria Bill, 2010, the National Food Reserve Agency Bill, 2010, the Petroleum Industries Bill, PIB, Community Service Bill; Police (Amendment) Bill: The Prisons Act (Amendment Bill); The Victims Act Bill, The Elimination of Violent Acts Bill and the Bill to Amend the Legal Practioners Act among others.
He spoke in a lecture entitled, “Law Reform in Nigeria:Challenges and Opportunities,” at the Jigawa State University.
He stated, “I perceive what I regard as deliberate, indifference or absolute lack of commitment and political machinations on the part of the political class in the area of law reforms.
The need to review our laws in line with the prevailing international standard gravitated towards the attainment and sustenance of democratic principles was not within the contemplation of the military regimes during this period in question.
Thus, an atmosphere of anomie in the review of our laws pervaded for about three decades; a period long enough to make a country suffer corporate amnesia and abdicate her responsibility in the reformation of her laws. One would have thought that with the return to democratic governance in Nigeria in 1999, she would have accelerated her law reform process, just to catch up with present needs and aspiration of her citizens.
“This is because the advent of democracy brought with it excitement and reinvigorated hope and aspiration that the situation has changed for the better for the country. This expectation was reasonably so, because democracy thrives on the rule of law. And the rule of law can only strive where the law is relevant to the yearnings and aspirations of the society. But it was as if the injury inflicted on our collective psyche was too much to wear out so soon and so easily.”