The Justice Reform Project (JRP), a group of senior lawyers, has asked Olukayode Ariwoola, acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), to treat judicial reform matters with utmost urgency.
Ariwoola was sworn in after Ibrahim Mhammad resigned as CJN on June 27.
Although he was said to have resigned on the grounds of ill-health, TheCable learnt he was forced to quit his position.
In a letter dated July 4, JRP asked the new CJN to use his position to move the judiciary in the right direction.
“Your lordship’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the legal profession, considering recent controversies and the backlash from within and outside the profession,” the letter reads.
“While we recognise the responsibility of your lordship’s office and the enormity of the task to ensure reforms in our profession, we are confident that your lordship’s experience and pedigree would be invaluable in the collective fight to move the judiciary in the right direction.
“Since its establishment in 2019, the JRP has shown demonstrable commitment to justice sector reforms, partnering with different relevant stakeholders in the justice sector to implement projects geared at increasing the efficacy of judicial services and the quality of justice in Nigeria.
“One such intervention was the recent Justice Sector Summit, which was organised in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Justice Research Institute (JRI), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“It featured discussions on key justice sector reform proposals, ranging from incremental proposals such as procedural and administrative reforms within our courts to more comprehensive proposals such as the amendment of the judicature provisions of the constitution.
“These discussions led to a consensus on a number of points by all the key stakeholders (including the judiciary). The agreed positions were recorded and published in a communique issued after the summit.
“In summary, the communique records the agreements reached on three broad reform points: (a) reforms relating to judicial appointment and promotion (b) reforms relating to judicial administration, particularly budgeting, funding and accountability and (c) reforms relating to speed and quality of justice delivery, particularly the performance of judges and their accountability.
“We support the recommendations, resolutions and reform direction agreed upon and urge your lordship to consider reforms in these areas as matters of utmost urgency.
“We do not consider these issues to be exhaustive in any way, however, we think they touch on the most pressing issues affecting the Nigerian judiciary.
“The JRP remains entirely committed to a reform of our judiciary and is more than happy to support your lordship in shouldering the enormous burden of ushering in a new era of efficient, transparent and accountable justice administration.”