The National Judicial Council has appointed a retired president of the Court of Appeal, Ayo Salami, to head a committee to monitor corruption cases in Nigerian court.
Mr. Salami was controversially removed from the judiciary by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Soji Oye, the NJC said Mr. Salami will head a 15-member committee for the task.
“The Committee’s primary functions 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,” Mr. Oye said.
The committee named: The Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) is also expected to drive the NJC’s” new policy on anti-corruption war.”
The committee, which has 15 members, will operate from the council’s secretariat in Abuja.
Among other functions, the committee will conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide.
Other members of the committee are the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah; the Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice P.O. Nnadi; the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marsahal Umukoro; the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice M. L. Abimbola; President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN); former NBA President, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN); and another former NBA president, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).
Others are Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN) – both former NBA presidents; a member of the NJC, Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN); NJC Secretary, Gambo Saleh; and a representative of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Mrs. R.I Inga.
The Ministry of Justice and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) will also have a representative each on the committee.
The committee will also advise Justice Onnoghen on how to eliminate delays in the trial of corruption cases.
In addition, it will give feedback to the NJC on the progress of cases in the designated courts, conduct background checks on judges selected for the designated courts, and evaluate the performance of the designated courts.
Oye said the committee would drive the council’s new policy on the anti-corruption war.
Justice Onnoghen, had in his speech last week at the Special Session of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, noted the concerns expressed by members of the public on the snail-like pace in which corruption cases were being heard or determined by the courts.
Consequently, he directed all heads of courts to compile and forward to the council comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crimes cases being handled by their various courts.
He also 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 dates each week for hearing and determining appeals from such cases.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in the past accused the judiciary of not helping in the fight against corruption.
“The Committee is expected to drive the Council’s new policy on anti-corruption war.”