17 September 2012 at 13:51 BST

Row over justice in Nigeria

The Chief Justice of Nigeria has blamed the country's Attorney General for inadvertently delaying the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases.

Lagos: 'cry for justice'

Chief Justice Aloma Mariam Makhtar said that ‘the courts cannot on their own prosecute criminal cases', adding that ‘on the streets of Nigeria and beyond, the cry for justice lingers’.

Criminal proceedings

According to the All Africa web site, the Chief Justice pointed the finger at Attorney General and Minster for Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke for failing to make use of his powers. She said: ‘The constitution provides that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, as the Chief law officer of the Federation has the power to institute, undertake, take-over, continue or discontinue criminal proceedings before the courts of law in Nigeria in respect of offences created under any Act of the National Assembly.

‘It, therefore, follows that the courts cannot on their own prosecute criminal cases, there must be the willingness of all prosecuting agencies to prosecute cases brought before our courts, especially high profile cases of corruption and all others.’

Ethical standards

The Attorney General rebutted the argument, mentioning the ‘declining ethical standards and indiscipline at the Bar’, before adding that ‘it is a matter of deep regret that lawyers, including some Senior Advocates routinely engage in unwholesome practices unbecoming of members of this noble profession’.


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