President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the slow pace of administration of justice in Nigerian Courts stating that the courts operated at a terribly slow pace.
Speaking at the 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), President Buhari went down memory lane, and spoke about how long his petitions against the 2003, 2007, and 2011 Presidential elections took before judgement was passed.
The President suggested that the Nigerian justice system needs to be urgently reformed, saying the Judiciary needs to institute a 12 month time limit for litigation of criminal cases from the High Court to the Supreme Court. Buhari also advocated that all civil cases should be concluded within 2 months.
Reminiscing about his past experiences with the Nigerian judiciary, President Buhari said, “At the end, I lost all three cases. I wondered then, why it needed to take so long to arrive at a verdict and if I had won the case, someone who did not legitimately win the election would have been in office all that time.
“In 2019, I was no longer petitioner; I had now become a respondent in the case of Atiku and Buhari and the whole process took barely six months; just over six months. What was the difference? The law had changed since my own in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
You had now introduced time limits for election petitions. Everything must be done within a six to eight-month period. My question then is why can’t we have a time limit for criminal cases? Why can’t we have a rule that will say a criminal trial all the way to the Supreme Court must not exceed 12 months? And why can’t we do the same for civil cases? Even if we say that civil cases must not go beyond between 12 and 15 months. I think that for me is stepping forward.”
President Buhari went further to point out the increasing number of conflicting court orders by different Judges, noting that this menace played an important role in the recent leadership crisis that rocked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He noted that Judges pronounced eight conflicting orders within six weeks.
The President concluded by urging the Judiciary to institute a compulsory test before the appointment of judges to determine their fitness for the position.