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Buhari proposes 12 months as duration for court cases, processes

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

President Muhammadu Buhari has recommended an urgent review of the country’s judicial process to limit and delineate expiration periods for every court cases to fast-track justice administration in Nigeria.

Buhari said that reviewing judicial process towards ensuring that court cases have time-limit would put the country at same pedestal with its peers global and that it would boost Nigeria’s ranking on the ease of doing business chart.

The president made the proposal on Wednesday at the 60th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual general conference themed: Stepping forward, held virtually due to physical limitations enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajostated that the current court proceedings was slow and would prefer the country operates a judicial process that allows a maximum of 15 months on all cases.

He noted that the time-limit placed on electoral court cases should also be extended to others particularly criminal cases, to reduce burdens in court and aid its ability to entertain other cases that required urgent attentions.

“Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement. We cannot afford to have the stitches come undone.

“My question then is that why can’t we have timeliness on all cases. Why can’t we put in place the rules that will state that a criminal trial all the way to the Supreme Court must not exceed 12 months in duration?

“Why can’t we do the same for civil cases even if we say it that civil cases must not go beyond 15 months, between 12 and 15 months I think that for me will be stepping forward.

“The question of speed raises a related concern in the context of a competitive global economy, a speed of our legal institutions and processes must match up with the global pace of transactions,” he said.

Also, the president noted that multiple and conflicting court orders are making a mockery of the judicial process while highlighting the need for reforms in that area.

While citing court cases that affected resolution of All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership crisis, he noted the issues would have been resolved quickly but court cases further elongated the issue.

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