News

May 24, 2024

Tinubu’s administration faced 625 court cases in 12 months, AGF reveals

Tinubu’s administration faced 625 court cases in 12 months, AGF reveals

…says Justice Ministry got 235 judgements, 250 convictions

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, on Friday, disclosed that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration faced a total of 625 court cases in the past 12 months.

The AGF, who made the revelation when he presented the scorecard of the Federal Ministry of Justice as part of activities to mark the first year of Tinubu’s administration, said the legal actions were instituted before States, Federal and ECOWAS Court.

He said the Ministry had after it was served with copies of the suits, responded accordingly, stressing that effective justice system is measured not only by the number of cases that were successfully disposed of, but by strategic measures that were adopted to avoid litigation.

According to the AGF, using a combination of effective defence strategies to cases, arbitration, mediation and diligent prosecution of appeal cases, the Ministry succeeded in saving the country from huge debt liabilities.

He said: “In the reporting period, a total of 625 (Six Hundred and Twenty-Five) cases instituted against the President, Federal Government and its Agencies, before States, Federal and ECOWAS Court were served and responded by the Ministry.

“The Ministry also received and treated 593 requests for legal advice and Petitions from May 2023 till date.

“In all, the Ministry obtained 235 judgements from May, 2023 to date,” he added.

Besides, the AGF further disclosed that through prosecution, the Ministry secured 160 convictions for criminal offences, 87 convictions for terrorism cases, 3 novel convictions for extremist terrorism actors involved in the radicalization of children and violence against women.

“I am pleased to report that following the Ministry’s intervention for the upgrade of facilities designated for trial of terrorism cases, the Ministry has resumed trials of terrorism cases in conjunction with the Legal Aid Council, National Human Rights Commission and other stakeholders.

“The percentages of Terrorism Cases initiated and Corruption Cases concluded within the reporting period has been significant.”

Fagbemi, SAN, said the Justice Ministry, in furtherance of President Tinubu’s priority of improving governance for effective service delivery, made concerted and collaborative efforts with relevant stakeholders in the justice sector which culminated in significant gains and achievements.

“Within the period, the Ministry vetted/reviewed 485 Contracts and PPP Projects to ensure value for money, eliminate corruption and ensure adequate protection of FGN investments.

“A total of 574 Legal Opinions were also proffered during the reporting period.”

On some of the recoveries that were made, the AGF, said the Asset Sharing Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey was signed in February, 2024 for the return of £2,125,944 proceeds of corruption.

“This has been approved by the President to be utilized for continuation of works on the Abuja-Kano Road project.

“The Ministry on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on April 25, 2024 concluded negotiation of a Settlement Agreement with Glencore International A.G. wherein Glencore is expected to pay the sum of $50 million USD as penalty and compensation for certain activities in Nigeria,” he added.

Reeling out some of the activities and achievements of agencies under the Ministry of Justice, the AGF, said the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, NLRC, is working with the Ministry in reviewing legal instruments that were affected by the recommendations of the Oronsanye Committee report and white papers on restructuring and rationalization of the Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions, 2012 and 2022, respectively.

Noting that the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, through ongoing advocacy and collaboration efforts, handled a total of 2,849,203 complaints from the public on various human rights issues, the AGF, said the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, secured 65 convictions comprising 57 perpetrators of human trafficking and 8 offenders who were prosecuted under the Violence Against Persons (VAPP) Act.

“The Agency also rescued 1,600 victims of human trafficking, out of which 340 victims were empowered with various skill acquisitions, with 90 victims enrolled in school for educational empowerment.”

Whereas the National Legal Aid Council, according to the AGF, handled 5,081 number of cases involving indigent citizens, from May 2023 to April, 2024, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in the past 11 months, recorded seizure of approximately 959,917.30 kg of illicit drugs, arrested 13,798 suspected drug traffickers, and secured the conviction of 3,247 drug offenders.

“A total of 7,586 individuals with drug abuse problem were counselled, while 1,337 others were successfully rehabilitated, reflecting the Agency’s dedication to providing holistic care and support for affected individuals.

“Additionally, over 3,188 public enlightenment programmes were conducted to raise awareness in schools, places of work, worship centres, markets, motor parks and communities about the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking,” the AGF stated.