Government At All Levels To Enhance Structures That Support Access To Justice ….JEDY-AGBA

Government At All Levels To Enhance Structures That Support Access To Justice ….JEDY-AGBA

The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary (SGF/PS), Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba OON,mni has stated the importance to enhance structures that support access to justice, put in place measures and legislations that support speedy dispensation of justice and promote good governance for effective service delivery.

The SGF/PS made the statement in her keynote address at the Federal Ministry of Justice Citizens Engagement on Access to Justice in Abuja on Wednesday 26th June, 2024.

Represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, FMOJ Mrs Victoria Ojogbane, explained that it is important that government at all levels ensure that its citizens have equitable access to justice, not just as a legal mandate but a moral imperative. She added that the action on the part of government underpins the very essence of democracy and human rights.

According to her, “Access to Justice as you are well aware is a critical pillar of democracy because it ensures that all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status have the opportunity to seek redress and the protection of their rights.‘’It is the bedrock upon which trust in our legal institutions is built, it is therefore correct to say that without access to justice, the rule of law collapses, leading to disenfranchisement and disillusionment among the populace”.

She explained that just like other MDAs the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF) Lateef Fagbemi SAN, and the SGF/PS signed on behalf of the ministry and the 9 Agencies/Parastatals under its supervision a Performance Bond with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 3rd of November, 2023.

She further explained that the bond contains 12 Ministerial and 3 Generic/Service wide deliverables one of which is the quarterly citizens and stakeholders engagement sessions to communicate government’s activities to citizens and also serve as a feedback mechanism to government’.

SGF/PS noted that the key performance indicator from the engagement requires a quarterly reports from every engagement which must contain the feedback to government on communicated activities’; Number of new initiatives/adjustments or decisions taken by the ministry in response to the feedback by citizens. “As you are aware, the present administration has eight presidential priorities through which it intends to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. I am pleased to state that the ministry of justice speaks to the eight presidential priority’ ’Improve Governance for effective service delivery”, Jedy-Agba reaffirm.

SGF/PS noted that two of the ministerial deliverables contained in the performance bond of the ministry are critical to the topic today , which is promote measures to achieve speedy dispensation of justice and promote access to justice and human rights protection.

She emphasized that the ministerial deliverables contain key performance indicators for implementation and quarterly reporting by the ministry and its relevant agencies/Parastatal.

According to her, “these ministerial deliverables and key performance indicators underscore the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu dedication to fostering a society where fairness and equality are not mere ideals but lived realities. By prioritizing access to justice, the administrations is taking significant strides toward ensuring that every citizen can confidently and effectively engage with the legal system.

In her conclusion Jedy-Agba maintained that access to justice is a fundamental right that must be upheld and protected adding that it is the cornerstone of a just, fair and equitable society.

Director Citizens Right Department of the ministry, Ms Roseline Tasha said that together they will explore the legal frame work and support mechanisms in place to protect the rights of the vulnerable and ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect that they deserve.

Tasha also said, “today we have gathered here to shed more light on the challenges faced and to empower them with knowledge and necessary resources if possible to get access to justice, as we all know that the ministry has a crucial role in providing support in ensuring that some laws within the variables come to life, such as National Citizens Act 2018.

She noted that they have been working with MDA’s and partners to ensure that their rights are safe guarded.

Representative of the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Unit(SGBV-UNIT) Ndidi Gladys Ezinwa-Ukoha in her vote of thanks commended the organizers for the programme. She urged the department to create more awareness to the general public on their rights and access to justice.

Mogupe Ogundoro
Director Information & PR