The National Judicial Council (NJC), on Wednesday appointed former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami to head its newly constituted Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).
NJC Director of Information, Barrister Soji Oye said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that the decision of the Council, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen was taken at the end of the 82nd meeting of the Council which held yesterday.
The Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee which has 15 members will operate from the Council Secretariat.
The Committee’s primary functions, according to the NJC statement include, regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide, advising the CJN on how to eliminate delay in the trial of alleged corruption cases as well as giving feedback to the NJC on progress of cases in the designated courts.
The Justice Salami led Committee will also conduct background checks on judges selected for the designated courts and evaluating the performance of the designated courts.
Members of the Committee, according to the NJC spokesman include, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, as chairman, Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice P.O. Nnadi and the Chief Judge, Imo State.
Other members of the committee are, Justice Marsahal Umukoro, Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice M. L. Abimbola, Chief Judge of Oyo State, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) and Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), a former President of the NBA.
The committee also has Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Joseph Bodunrin Daudu (SAN), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN), a member of the NJC, Mrs. R.I Inga, Representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations, Ministry of Justice, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Secretary of the NJC, Gambo Saleh.
Recalled that the CJN, Justice Onnoghen, in his speech at the special session of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 legal year, emphasized on the concerns expressed by members of the public on the slow speed with which corruption cases were being heard or determined by the court.
The CJN consequently directed all Heads of Courts to compile and forward to the NJC, a comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crime cases being handled by their various Courts.
The NJC also directed Heads of Court to designate in their various jurisdictions one or more courts, as special courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedily determining corruption and financial crimes cases.
The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal were equally directed to fix special date in each week for hearing and determining appeals from such cases.
According to the statement, the Justice Salami led committee is expected to drive NJC’s new policy on anti-corruption war.