The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has identified reform of the judiciary as the only way to succeed in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Such reform would reduce the conflict between the Act guiding the activities of the commission and the constitution of the country.
The observation came from the Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, represented by the EFCC Director, Public Affairs Department, Osita Nwajah, during a two-day workshop on Budget Monitoring and Tracking, organized for NGOs, CBOs, Media and local government staff in Akure, Ondo State.
The EFCC chief urged the federal government to establish a ‘Special Court’ that would only focus on corruption cases.
He said, “It was the EFCC that proposed the Special Court and we have not relented on that. If you study the EFCC Act very well, there is some movement in that direction which says that the court should not entertain interlocutory applications in the course of the trial – that is people cannot come to say let us stop the main trial and let us argue the non-substantive issue.”
He however noted that this is inconsistent with the relevant provision of the constitution which guarantees every Nigerian access to the judicial system.
“So you cannot abridge that right and so far it is inconsistent with the constitution. That provision cannot operate, that is why we have this interlocutory things coming up so often.
“It is so bad that in the cases of two former governors we have on trial, some of the people you are hearing about would have gone to the Supreme Court on Interlocutory applications. They have dragged us to the Supreme Court and the usual process in Nigeria is that anytime such process comes up you will keep the substantive matter aside and address the concern as raised by the defence.”