President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a definite timeline for criminal trials even up to the Supreme Court. He made the request during yesterday’s opening ceremony of the virtual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said that such reforms had become necessary given the current and pre-existing challenges confronting the system.
“Why can’t we have time limits for all cases?
“Why can’t we put in place the rules that will say that a criminal trial all the way up to the Supreme Court must end in 12 months, and that a civil trial must not exceed 12-15 months? I think that, for me, will be stepping forward.
“Step forward means taking responsibility. It may also mean making progress, boldly taking on the challenges of the future.
“I believe we need to step forward and resolve some of the nagging problems of our systems of administration of justice.”
“I am not a lawyer but I have been both a casualty and a beneficiary of the judicial process. I was before the courts for two and a half years- 27 months from 2003 in the now famous case of Buhari and Obasanjo.
“ It took me two and a half years to fight for a four-year Presidential mandate.
“In 2007, I was again in court for 20 months, almost two years, also as petitioner and later then appellant in the case of Buhari and INEC.
“And in 2011, again as petitioner in the case of CPC and INEC. I spent another eight months in court. At the end, I lost all three cases. I wondered then why it needed to take so long to arrive at a verdict.
“In 2019, my status improved, I was now no longer petitioner, I became first respondent in the case of Atiku and Buhari and the whole process took barely six months”, the president said.
Buhari, listed conflicting orders of courts., seeming bias towards technicality over the clear common sense justice of cases, manner of appointment of judges were some issues making a mockery of the judiciary in Nigeria.