Anxiety in NDLEA, NCS, NHRC, others as Tinubu begins justice sector reforms

Chief executives of several Nigerian government agencies, including the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Code of Conduct Bureau, Public Complaints Commission, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and the Legal Aid Council, are reportedly on edge over potential overhauls by President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

According to sources, the moves are part of a broader plan for justice sector reform, with some officials expected to be sacked while others may be retained or transferred to different agencies.

The reform agenda may also extend to the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and High Courts.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), announced that President Tinubu would declare Nigeria’s justice sector reform summit open on April 24, 2024.

He said the reforms aim to protect citizens’ rights, ensure access to justice, and expedite the dispensation of justice.

Many agency heads fear they may be affected by the overhaul, particularly in light of the country’s justice system’s current challenges, including delays in case adjudication.

There is discontent within the government regarding agencies like the NDLEA, PCC, NHRC, and the correctional service, which underwent reforms under previous administrations.

Specifically, the NDLEA is under scrutiny due to concerns over low prosecution rates, internal disputes, and perceived inefficiencies.

While NDLEA Chairman, Gen. Buba Marwa, has been praised for his performance, there are indications of impending restructuring within the agency.

“Apart from the low rate of prosecution of suspects, there was rumpus recently in the NDLEA on alleged lopsidedness in the promotion of workers, and irregularities in rank assignments and regularisation.

“There was also tension on the purported reappointment of the secretary of the NDLEA, Shadrak Usman Haruna, for a second term in office,” a source told Sahara Reporters.

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