The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has applauded the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for introducing institutional reforms in the war against corruption and recovery of loots.
The centre, which made this known today at a press conference in Abuja, said in the last six years, the AGF has embarked on several initiatives to ensure the smooth functioning of government.
In his address, Executive Director, Comrade Isaac Ikpa, said the ministry, under Malami, has successfully tracked all assets recovered on behalf of the Federal Government by various law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies while developing the Whistle-Blowers’ Policy.
Through a trilateral agreement with foreign countries, Comrade Ikpa said looted funds have been recovered and returned back to Nigeria.
According to Ikpa, with the concerted effort of the Federal Ministry of Justice, public perceptions of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s fight against corruption have improved tremendously.
The centre also said the Minister of Justice has consistently adhered to the rule of law, with transparency and accountability the hallmark of his ministry.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, therefore, passed a vote of confidence on Malami, recommending a national honour for the country’s AGF.
Read full statement below:
The leadership of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency holds this press conference to laud the efforts of the Honorable Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, in institutionalizing reforms in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
We are delighted to mention that the Federal Ministry of Justice has embarked on several initiatives to ensure the smooth functioning of government through the effective discharge of its core functions in the last six years.
The Federal Ministry of Justice has ensured access to justice for all persons and the observance of the rule of law and due process by all MDAs. Prosecuting crimes against the State and defending civil cases on behalf of the Government was also given top consideration.
Ensuring close collaboration with stakeholders, government agencies, civil society and the international community to improve on justice delivery, and advising the government on its treaty obligations, in addition to other sundry services to the legal profession, were the hallmark of the Federal Ministry of Justice in the past six years.
We are aware that the Federal Ministry of Justice has been providing guidelines on international and local asset recovery regime, tracking of all assets recovered on behalf of the federal government by various law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies, and assisting the Federal Ministry of Finance in developing the Whistle-Blowers’ Policy.
It is indeed instructive to state that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has displayed uncommon courage since he assumed leadership of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The whistle-blowing policy of the federal government provides us with such instances of how effective the Federal Ministry of Justice had been in the war against corruption. We also wish to state that following the launch of the Whistle-Blowing Policy, recovery of the looted fund increased with the personnel of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices (ICPC) and Other Related Offence Commission, Department of State Security, and other security agencies, on alert with available information.
As early as 2017, the whistle-blowing policy had yielded $151million and N8 billion in looted funds through the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Justice. This is indeed commendable and further emphasizes the disposition of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in ensuring that the Federal Ministry of Justice provides guidelines on international and local asset recovery regime.
We also wish to state that the outstanding successes recorded by President Muhammadu Buhari in international asset recovery could be a template for other African countries in the fight against corruption.
The various steps taken by the Federal Ministry of Justice in terms of legislative frameworks, the establishment of institutions and policy measures targeted at combatting corruption, Regional Corporation and ensuring good governance for the benefit of citizens are laudable.
In 2017, the signing of a trilateral agreement with Switzerland and the World Bank enabled the recovery of $322.515million. In 2020, a total sum of $311.7million was returned to Nigeria after signing another trilateral agreement with the USA and Bailiwick of Jersey.
Also, in 2020, 5.4million Euros was recovered in March, emanating from an agreement signed with Northern Ireland. The Federal Government was able to recover from the UK the sum of €4,214,017.66 connected to the family of James Ibori.
Under the guidance of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Government had developed the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and a guideline for smooth implementation of the strategy, which has five pillars; prevention of corruption, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement and sanction, and recovery and management of proceeds of crime.
Consequently, we are not surprised that Nigeria’s stand in the anti-corruption struggle has been adjudged to be recording tremendous success; a fact was confirmed by credible International organizations, including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).
We reiterate once again that through the concerted effort of the Federal Ministry of Justice, public perceptions of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s fight against corruption have improved dramatically, and this is a strong indication that the nation’s orientation towards understanding the challenges of fighting and addressing corrupt practices is changing for the better.
The Federal Ministry of Justice has also ensured the speedy dispensation of justice. This is also another commendable feat that must not go unnoticed. That the common man and woman on the street can get justice indicates that a lot has happened in the application of the criminal justice system in the country. This is also noteworthy that even with the coronavirus pandemic, notable reforms were introduced to ensure that the judicial system does not experience setbacks.
The Center for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency leadership indeed lauds these reforms in the Federal Ministry of Justice, which has been institutionalized through transparency and accountability, which is essentially the hallmark of the Federal Ministry of Justice under Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The adherence to the Rule of Law is also another area worthy of mention in the sense that the Federal Ministry of Justice. On record, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has lived up to his billing as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria by advancing sound legal opinions and interpretations in the judicial landscape. This, much in our considered opinion, has assisted the federal government in adherence to the rule of law at all times.
We also wish to state in unequivocal terms that under the jurisdiction of Abubakar Malami, the transparency in the recovery of assets has been outstanding given the collaboration with various jurisdictions in its efforts to recover stolen assets stashed abroad. Through this means, the country has continued to make significant progress in preventing and combating corruption, blocking leakages and recovering our stolen assets.
We are also aware that under Abubakar Malami, Nigeria is implementing the Justice Sector Reform Strategy covering issues such as International Cooperation Mechanisms, Mutual Legal Assistance and reform of the Criminal Justice System.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency wishes to state that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has displayed an unwavering commitment in the war against corruption in Nigeria through the instrument of his office.
The various indices in this regard speak positively on the institutional reforms introduced in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
In the light of the above, we recommend the Attorney General of the Federation for the conferment of national honours in reward for his efforts in the war against corruption, strengthening the mechanism for the speedy dispensation of justice across the country.
We also recommend that it won’t be out of place if the Attorney General of the Federation is considered for a Nobel Peace Prize for Transparency and Accountability and an unalloyed commitment to the war against corruption in Nigeria.