The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says the Ministry of Justice cannot afford to fail on account of the lawless acts of the corrupt and unpatriotic few who always derive pleasure in seeing the nation fail.
Mr Malami said this on his return as Minister of Justice while and unveiling his roadmap for the sector on Thursday in Abuja.
“The law must work: it must speak its firm language of justice at all times, no matter whose ox is gored.
“It’s the secret that binds societies together, so I am determined as ever before to use law as a means to shape society, regulate people’s behaviours and balance the competing interests in the Nigerian society.
“This is because the defence of the corporate interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rights of her citizens are my primary goal as the Chief Law Officer’’.
He said the Ministry has done much but there is still a lot more to be done.
“We should do more especially at this critical time in the annals of our country when the soul of Nigeria is currently being threatened by emerging class of mutinous element.
“Nigeria is today bedeviled with an existential crisis of nationhood that is threatening to tear the country apart with the needless calls for separation, dismemberment and ill motivated restructuring’’.
Mr Malami said his deep reflection from his position as the Attorney-General revealed that part of the problem arose from the long years of failure of the justice system.
“This has consequently created a very vulnerable political environment and the failure is evident in so many areas.
“These include lack of compliance with the laws, low capacity by institutions to enforce laws, lack of patriotism, delayed justice with attendant undue congestion in our prisons and wide spread corruption.
“We know that any society where laws are observed in breach rather than in observance, such a society will automatically degenerate to Hobbesian state of nature where life is brutish, whimsical and short.’’
He said the decades of inefficiency, bad governance and mal-administration of the past had led to weak economy and massive corruption.
“As we enter the second and final term in office, we have to build on the gains already made through our usual and consistent pursuit of the policy thrusts of the administration.
“We plan to achieve this by creating a new national order founded on justice and good governance that will ultimately engender transparency in the management and allocation of our common wealth.
He said the ministry shall rigorously pursue judicial reforms targeted at achieving some set goals.
“To protect the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Nigeria by defending her constitution in such a manner that will guarantee the unity and indivisibility of the Nigeria state;
“Promote and remain steadfast to the policy thrusts of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration by contributing our quota;
“Develop and promote appropriate executive bills and develop a culture of cohesive synergy between the three arms of the government;
“The collaboration with the judiciary and legislature will be extended to designing and proposing a workable constitutional amendment towards ensuring better efficiency of the Nigerian Judiciary.”
He also said the ministry will intensify efforts at achieving a harmonious working relationship amongst all Nigerian Anti-corruption and Law Enforcement Agencies.
“We will ensure the effective and timeous prosecution of all cases being handled by the Ministry and maintain regular meetings with the staff.
“We will also consolidate on growing results, see that Nigeria becomes a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as well as ensure alternative, faster and cheaper means of recovering stolen public assets.
According to him, ` It’s a new day for law in Nigeria`.
“If we ever achieved any success in the first term, this is the time to surpass those records: we must set new records and even exceed them,’’ he added.