Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the current administration is committed to entrenching the rule of law in line with international best practice.
Osinbajo who declared open the two-day National Law Summit on Law Revision held at the instance of Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) in Abuja, stressed that the Federal Government recognized the importance of strengthening the rule of law, to sustaining democracy.
Osinbajo, who was represented by Dayo Akpata, Solicitor General of the Federation emphasised the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari towards deepening democracy.
“This passion was the driving force behind the law reform and revision of the laws of Lagos State when I was the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice.
“This would not have been achieved without the commitment and support of the Executive under the then Executive Governor of the State, Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
“As the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari and the policy of this administration on justice sector reform as a measure for sustaining democracy, based on the principles of the rule of law.
“It will be gratifying to see a replication of these noble legacies at the federal level. I believe that every successful democracy thrives on the principles of rule of law and I also believe in the law as an instrument of social change and development,” Osinbajo said.
Also speaking at the summit, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, expressed concern over the delay in the justice delivery system.
“The delay in justice delivery system is of great concern to me as it must be to you all.
“This unacceptable situation creates need for thorough and comprehensive reform, for our laws to be reviewed” he stated.
According to him, such reforms agenda of necessity require the cooperation of the executive arm of government, the legislature, the judiciary as well as other relevant stakeholders sector in the bid to change the old order.
Onnoghen also underscored the need for internal cohesion, integrity in order to entrench the rule of law, which are underlying bedrock of democracy.
In his remarks, Keffas Magaji, Chairman, Nigerian Law Reform Commission explained that the law revision is an integral part of law reform which is encapsulated in the mandate if the Commission as provided in section 5 of its Act.
He observed that the prolonged delay in revising extant laws has “created a huge gap in the body if laws which is consequently affecting the smooth adminstration of government institutions and structures z and the effect administration on justice particularly in terms of access to authentic laws citation and referencing.”
He however expressed optimism that the ongoing law revision will help in addressing stakeholders’ concerns “regarding the growing phenomenon of indiscriminate printing and sale by private persons of inaccurate and distorted versions of laws which has tended to create uncertainty and confusion in the system.
“This ugly development appears to have been unwittingly encouraged by the absence of a comprehensive revised edition of the Laws of the Federation,” he observed
In achieving the feat, he solicited for the cooperation of all stakeholders such as government ministries, departments, agencies, parastatals and other statutory bodies.
“This is because a lot of changes have been made into he law through enactments of new Acts, amendments and issuing of subsidiary legislation and all these need to be reflected and consolidated in our body of laws through law revision exercise.
“Also given the level of adulteration of some of these laws, it is only relevant statutory bodies that will know the authentic version of the Acts and regulations. We strongly urge all the relevant statutory bodies to make available the authentic versions of their Acts and regulations in hard copies and soft copies urgently to the Commission for incorporation into the body of Laws of the Federation,” Magaji stressed.