Enhancing Judicial Integrity Under Focus as NGO Engages FCT High Court Judge
The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative (otherwise known as Partners West Africa-Nigeria (PWA-N) is commencing a project aimed at enhancing judicial integrity with a visit to the office of the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja on August 29th 2016 by 1:30pm. The advocacy visit to the Hon. Justice Ishaq U. Bello is intended to secure the cooperation of judges and judicial workers, and taking on board their perspectives on the perceived waning public trust in the judiciary.
A study in 2010 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found the judiciary receiving the largest bribe among other Nigerian institutions stained with corruption.
“Over the years, most citizens now prefer to resolve their issues at police stations or have it settled otherwise without involving the courts,” said the Executive Director PWA-Nigeria, Ms. Kemi Okenyodo. “This is because, citizens perceive court procedures to be cumbersome, characterised by delays in the execution of court orders; prisoners not being brought to court and lack of public access to copies of court orders and decisions. They also complain about disappearance of files; unusual variations in sentencing; delays in the delivery of judgments; questionable decisions by some judges and lack of transparency or merit in appointments.”
In a bid to restore the integrity, improve service delivery and public trust to the judiciary system, PWA-Nigeria is implementing a project tagged “Strengthening Judicial Integrity in Nigeria” by promoting social accountability in the judicial sector. This is an 8 months’ pilot project supported by the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
PWA-Nigeria is a nongovernmental organization committed to promotion of good governance, particularly accountability and transparency by expanding opportunities for citizens to engage. It is a member of the Partners Global Network, an international community of 19 like-minded national organizations around the world united by common approaches including participatory decision making, collaborating advocacy, consensus building and social entrepreneurship for democratic governance.