– Strike out 12, Reserve 62 for judgement
By Soji Oye, Esq
Director, Information, NJC.
The Special Courts designated in November 2017 to try corruption and financial crimes cases in the country have delivered 324 judgements, struck out 12 cases and reserved 62 cases for judgement in the last six months.
This is contained in the report card of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trials Monitoring Committee, (COTRIMCO), inaugurated in November 2017 by the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, to tour the six geo-political zones of the country to determine the causes of slow pace of corruption and financial crimes cases in the country’s courts.
The Committee, headed by Hon. Mr. Justice Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, has, in the last six months crisscrossed the country to monitor and ensure compliance with the directive of the Honourable Chief Justice to ensure speedy dispensation of the cases.
Prior to the formation of the Committee, the Chief Justice had directed the Heads of Court, at a Special Session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, to designate special Courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crime cases.
Upon receipt of the lists, the Committee divided itself into three sub-committees to cater for the easy monitoring and evaluation of the said cases in the different zones of the country as follows:
• Zone A: Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
• Zone B: Northern Zone
• Zone C: Southern Zone
Of the total number of 324 judgements delivered, the Supreme Court, in Zone A, delivered 52 judgements and reserved seven cases for judgement from the list of 125 cases pending before it, leaving an outstanding number of 73 cases.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, within the period, also disposed of 74 appeals and reserved 11 for judgement from the list of 137 cases in its docket.
The Federal High Court delivered two judgements from the 91 pending cases before it, while the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory likewise delivered three judgements and reserve one case for judgement thereby leaving an outstanding number of 178 cases pending.
In Zone B, Northern Zone, 62 judgements were delivered by the six Court of Appeal Divisions, 19 Federal High Court Divisions and 19 High Courts of various Northern States from the total number of 425 cases pending in the Zone, while 12 cases were struck out.
From the 12 cases struck out, five are from the Court of Appeal and seven from High Courts of three States.
The designated Courts in Zone C, (Southern Zone), have delivered judgements in 131 out of the 952 corruption and financial crime cases on-going at the various Courts and reserved 43 cases for judgements.
From the total number of judgements delivered in the zone, the Federal High Court delivered seven judgements out of a total of 304 cases pending before it; while the High Courts of 17 States delivered 124 cases from the 524 on-going in their various Courts.
The Court of Appeal in the zone has reserved 31 out of 121 appeals pending in the Court for judgement. The Federal High Court, on its part, reserved three cases for judgement while the various State High Courts in the Zone have reserved nine cases for judgement.
The Committee will continue the exercise after the courts’ vacation.