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FG calls for review of practice, procedure of ECOWAS court

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Lawyers task AGF on reforming criminal justice system

The Federal Government has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Judicial Council to institute a reform-oriented review of the practice and procedure of the ECOWAS Court of Justice to avoid conflicts with national courts.

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, who made this call, said the review should make the court realize its envisioned potential as a respectable regional court.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Statutory Meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council in Abuja, Fagbemi said the council should also provide a credible network for the promotion of uniform rules of practice and procedure in the administration of justice in order to reduce conflict of laws in the region.

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According to him, the ECOWAS Judicial Council stands in a proper position to work towards the promotion of rule of law and democratic governance, which have come under intense pressure in recent times.

He also added that as the ECOWAS bloc continues to work towards achieving uniform economic policies and institutions, the judiciary should not be left behind.

He said the challenges confronting the judiciary or the justice system in general across the West African states are identical in terms of judicial autonomy, provision of funding and infrastructural facilities for the courts, among others.

In the same vein, he said member states also share the challenges confronting the region in terms of economy, migration, integration, insecurity, enforcement of fundamental rights.

The AGF enjoined the ECOWAS Judicial Council to utilize the regional platform, as an avenue for peer review and cross-fertilization of ideas, to address the issues in order to achieve greater independence of the judiciary and a more prosperous and safer sub-region.

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the ECOWAS Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, said the council was working towards ensuring a just and equitable society.

He charged member states to work towards safeguarding the principles of justice, upholding the rule of law, and advancing the cause of peace and prosperity.

On his part, the President of the Community Court of Justice, Eward Amoako Asante, restated the commitment of ECOWAS Judicial Council to upholding the principles of justice, equity and the rule of law within the ECOWAS Community.

 

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