2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
JUNE 23, 2014
Conference proposes a six-year single term for Attorneys General
Published June 23rd, 2014
The National Conference sitting in Abuja has resolved that henceforth, both the
Attorney General of the Federal and that of the states would serve a single term
of six years as against the present practice where the tenure is not fixed.
Such an appointment would be by the President and confirmed by the Senate in the
case of the Attorney General of the Federation; while the state governor would
make the appointment subject to confirmation by the State House of Assembly in
the case of states.
It was also resolved on Tuesday that such an appointee who must be someone of
unquestionable integrity must have qualified as a legal practitioner in Nigeria
and must have been so qualified for a period not less than 15 years.
Conference said any appointee to the office of AGF shall be removed from office
by the President acting on a two-third majority vote of the Senate for failure
to discharge the functions of his office whether arising from infirmity of mind
or body or any other cause or for misconduct.
It was equally agreed that the Offices of the Attorney General of the Federation
and the states, be separated from that of the Minister and Commissioner for
The conference also resolved that the concept of plea bargain be completely
abolished. This will enable criminal and corruption cases to run their full
course in contrast to the present situation where people accused of corruption
are set free after parting with a fraction of their looted public funds.
These were parts of the resolutions adopted by the Conference on Monday when it
considered recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee on Law,
Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Reforms headed by retired Justice George A.
Oguntade and Professor Auwalu Yadudu who served as deputy chairman.
Delegates to the Conference who decided unanimously on these said the
resolutions if well implemented, would offer the needed solutions to the
teething thematic problems experienced in the Nigerian Legal System.
Conference also agreed that every state of the federation should have a State
Court of Appeal that would serve as a terminal court for states on state matters
except in cases of weighty constitutional issues, civil, liberties and matters
of overriding public interest with the leave of the Supreme Court.
When established, the headship of the State Judiciary would immediately shift
from the Chief Judge of the State to the President of the State Court of Appeal,
according to the Conference.
The Federal Government is expected to, through the Consolidated Revenue Fund,
provide the take-off grant for the establishment of the State Court of Appeal
while Section 121 of the 1999 Constitution should be amended to make non-release
of funds to the Judiciary a gross misconduct.
Establishment of special courts, for instance anti-corruption courts to handle
cases involving corrupt practices was approved by the Conference.
It said such courts would be devoid of the niceties and technicalities of the
conventional courts such as preliminary objections, injunctions, interlocutory
matters, among others.
Such courts when established would be have full powers of the high courts and
are to be manned by retired high court judges of proven integrity.
It was also resolved that henceforth, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court,
shall, on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, be appointed to
head the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
Conference asked for the amendment of the Section 291(3)(a) of the 1999
Constitution to read: “Any person who has held office as judicial officer of
Superior Court of Record for a period of not less than 10 years shall, if he
retires at or after the age of 70 years, be entitled to pension for life at a
rate equivalent to salaries and all allowances of serving judicial officers of
It said the system that requires judges to turn in a certain number of cases or
judgments quarterly without regard to the quality of the judgments should be
discouraged while the working conditions of judges should be improved.
Delegates agreed that appeals from the National Industrial Court should
terminate at the Federal Court of Appeal except for matters of weighty
constitutional significance, civil liberties, and matters of overriding public
interest with the leave of the court.
While recommending building of more prisons across the country, Conference voted
against the removal of Prisons from the Exclusive Legislative List to the
Concurrent Legislative List; against the advice of the Committee.
It was also resolved that convicted pregnant women or nursing should be allowed
to deliver and nurse their babies for two years before serving their sentences
In addition, no awaiting trial prisoner shall be detained for longer than the
period he or she would have served if convicted of the crime he is charged with.
Cases of extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses are to be dispensed
with within 12 months; according a decision adopted by the Conference.
Conference also asked for a provision for the conclusion of cases commenced
before a judge before transfer of such a judge to prevent such matters starting
all over again except in cases of death or retirement of such a judge.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION
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