By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The National Judicial Council, NJC, on Wednesday, appointed former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami to head the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee, COTRIMCO, recently established by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The legal body took the decision at the end of its 82nd meeting in Abuja.
According to a statement that was signed by the Director of Information at the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, the monitoring committee which has 15 members, will operate from the Council Secretariat situated inside the Supreme Court complex.
Aside Justice Salami, other members of the committee are Chief Judge, Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice P.O. Nnadi, Chief Judge Delta State, Justice Marsahal Umukoro, Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice M. L. Abimbola.
Others are the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. A.B Mahmoud, SAN, former NBA Presidents, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Mr. J.B Daudu SAN and Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN.
As well as Dr. Garba Tetengi, SAN, Mrs. R.I Inga, Representative of Non-Governmental Organisations, Representative from the Ministry of Justice, Representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, as well as Secretary of the NJC, Mr. Gambo Saleh.
The statement disclosed that the Committee’s primary functions would include; “Regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide;
“Advising the Chief Justice of Nigeria on how to eliminate delay in the trial of alleged corruption cases; Giving feedback to the Council on progress of cases in the designated courts, conduct background checks on judges selected for the designated courts; and
“Evaluating the performance of the designated courts”.
It will be recalled that the CJN had in his speech at the Special Session of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, emphasized on concerns expressed by members of the public on the very slow speed with which corruption cases were being heard or determined by the Court.
Consequently, he directed all Heads of Courts to compile and forward to the Council, comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crime cases being handled by their various Courts.
He equally directed them to designate in their various jurisdictions one or more Courts, as Special Courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedily determining corruption and financial crimes cases.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Court of Appeal were equally directed to fix special date in each week for hearing and determining appeals from such cases.
“The Committee is expected to drive the Council’s new policy on anti-corruption war”, the statement added.