Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice voiced concern about the escalating debt profiles of governments at all levels in the country, deeming it a peril to both the national economy and its survival.
To avert potential issues, Fagbemi pointed out that his ministry has proactively established a collaborative framework with specialized firms to assess possible areas of dispute or liability.
He noted this on Tuesday, at the opening ceremony of a two-day meeting of the Body of Attorneys-General in Abuja.
Fagbemi said, ‘I also need to comment on the increasingly rising debt profiles of Government at all levels, which pose serious danger and challenge to our national economy and existence as an independent nation.’
‘The Federal Ministry of Justice has, against this backdrop, initiated a collaborative framework with specialist Firms, to enable Legal Officers involved in drafting MOUs and other forms of binding Agreements to acquire the required skills to identify possible areas of dispute or liability, which could lead to avoidable litigation or arbitration costs and judgment debt.’
‘We are willing to extend the support to Legal Officers in the various States in order to strengthen their capacities in this regard.”The AGF who admitted that there had been complaints in some quarters over recent court judgments dismissed that this has affected public confidence in the judiciary.’
He said, ‘Let me appreciate the fact that there have been some complaints, the extent of it is what I will not agree with. Public confidence in the judiciary is not at its all-time low.’
‘You see, when you have about 10 situations and you have a problem with one, the tendency of some of our people is to use that one to judge the entire situation.’
‘Do not forget, the Federal Ministry of Justice is also a critical stakeholder, but not the only stakeholder. I am not giving any excuse. All I am saying is that we will do our utmost best to holistically address all the grey areas.’
He called on state AGs to ensure the judiciary is given financial autonomy in their various states.
Fagbemi said, ‘I urge my distinguished colleagues to ensure the full implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary across our States as provided for under Section 121(3)&(4) of the Constitution, as a mark of our true and holistic commitment to the ideals of democracy and good governance.’