NJC Director, Information, Mr. Soji Oye, said in a statement on Sunday that the Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd)-led committee would soon discuss with prosecutorial bodies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.
The statement said the committee had been divided into four sub-committees – Practice Directions, Training, Awareness and Feedback and Engagement.
It added that for ease of its operation, the committee divided the country into Zone A (Abuja FCT), Zone B (North) and Zone C (South).
The statement stated that “at the last count, Zone A in Abuja has 554 pending alleged cases, Zone B has 347 cases, while Zone C has 1,405 cases.”
The statement read in part, “The National Judicial Council’s committee on the monitoring of alleged corruption cases in court has resolved to actively engage prosecutorial bodies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission in furtherance of its mandate.
“The committee, known as Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Trials Monitoring Committee, has received 2,306 ongoing alleged corruption cases, which are now receiving attention from the four sub-committees it has been divided into.
“The sub-committees are: Practice Directions, Training, Feedback and Engagement and Awareness. They were constituted at a meeting of the (NJC) anti-graft panel, under the leadership of the chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima, CFR (retd).
“The committee also divided the country into three zones for ease of monitoring and evaluation of the said cases.
“The Zones are: Zone A, Abuja FCT; Zone B, Northern Zone; and Zone C, Southern Zone.”
Oye also said the NJC’s secretary, who doubles as the secretary to the committee, Mr. Gambo Saleh, had been directed to write the Chief Judges of various courts, who had yet to comply with the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, that they send the list of high profile corruption cases being heard by their courts.
The statement recalled that the CJN had directed the heads of courts to designate courts and judges that would solely handle the ongoing trials on a daily basis to fast-track all the pending alleged corruption cases.
It also stated that the committee would issue new practice directions to the judges that would preside over the special courts.
The statement read, “The committee, after brainstorming on all the pending alleged corruption and financial crime cases submitted to it by the heads of court that had complied, indicated that a new practice direction would be issued to judges handling the said cases.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, GCON, had directed the heads of court to designate courts and judges that will solely handle the ongoing trials on a daily basis to fast-track all the pending alleged corruption cases.
“The Practice Directions sub-committee has commenced a review of various practice directions by leveraging on both local and foreign comparative jurisdictions to meet global best practice.
“The committee said it was imperative that other critical stakeholders buy into the mission of the body, directing that regular updates and advocacy postings on sub-committees’ activities must be a permanent feature of the project.
“No date has been fixed for the planned interface with the anti-corruption bodies.”