SERAP urges CJN to sanction judges over neglect
By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to sanction judges handling corruption cases who fail to adhere to the provisions of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.
The ACJ Act among others provided for speedy trial of criminal cases by minimising filing of frivolous applications by lawyers in order to stall proceeding at the lower courts.
Imploring the CJN to ensure that all judges handling corruption cases adhere to the provisions of the ACJA, SERAP raised the alarm that defence lawyers had now resorted to long-winding cross-examination of witnesses in order to ensure that proceedings in criminal cases were worn down and such cases got adjourned endlessly after the ACJA had abolished stay of proceedings, which was used by lawyers to frustrate criminal cases.
The recommendation formed parts of the latest report titled: “Combating Grand Corruption and Impunity in Nigeria: Agenda for Institutional Reforms in Anti-corruption Strategies.” unveiled yesterday by SERAP in Ikeja, Lagos.
It called on Justice Onnoghen to ensure that training on the use of the ACJA was incorporated into the periodic training of judges. The body said the immunity clause for certain political office-holders in the country is becoming a clog in the wheel of the campaign against corruption.