Civic Societies Form ‘Open Justice Alliance’ To Tackle Corruption, Inefficiency Plaguing Nigerian Judiciary

Five Nigerian civil society organizations on Wednesday stated that they have formed an “Open Justice Alliance” which is a collaboration to tackle the rot and corruption in the Nigerian judicial system and enhance transparency and accountability.

The CSOs – Citizens’ Gavel, Civic Hive, Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), Hope Behind Bars and TAP Initiative – said in a statement that the alliance was in response “to the urgent need for transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s judicial system and the imperative to restore citizens’ confidence.”

“The Open Justice Alliance is a collaborative and strategic effort aimed at fostering a justice system that is open, fair, and accountable, addressing the concerns raised by citizens regarding transparency within the justice space.

“Recent public discourse has highlighted growing concerns about transparency within the judiciary, leading to a decline in citizens’ confidence. The Open Justice Alliance recognizes the importance of addressing these challenges and aims at promoting a justice system that serves the interests of all Nigerians,” the statement said.

“The judiciary is said to be the last hope of the common man, but the entity cannot do this if it does not purge itself of corruption and inefficiencies. Nigeria’s need for judicial transparency and accountability has never been more pressing,” Nelson Olanipekun, Citizens’ Gavel’s Team Lead, emphasized.

“A transparent and accountable judiciary is vital for upholding the rule of law, ensuring equal access to justice, and building public trust in our justice delivery process. However, challenges such as corruption, controversial judgements, undue influence, and inefficiency continue to plague the judicial system,” he added.

The civic societies said the Open Justice Alliance aimed to achieve its objectives through a multi-pronged approach, including, “Advocacy and Policy Reform: Collaborating with relevant stakeholders to advocate for policies that enhance transparency, fairness, and accountability in the judiciary.

“Public Awareness Campaigns: Educating citizens about their rights and the functioning of the justice system, fostering a sense of ownership and participation in the administration of justice.

“Capacity Building: Providing training and resources to legal professionals, judges, and court staff to enhance their understanding and implementation of transparent and accountable practices.

“Monitoring and Reporting: Establishing mechanisms to monitor, research, and report on the performance of the judiciary, ensuring that issues of concern are promptly addressed.

“Collaboration with the Judiciary: Spotlighting issues of inefficiencies and engaging the judiciary to promote a culture of transparency and accountability within the system.”

According to the release by Rachael Adio, Citizens’ Gavel Communication Associate, the civic societies said the launch of the Open Justice Alliance marked “a significant step towards rebuilding public trust in Nigeria’s judicial system. By bringing together the collective strengths of Citizens’ Gavel, Civic Hive, Hope Behind Bars, NULAI, and TAP Initiative, the alliance is poised to make significant contributions towards enhancing a transparent and accountable justice system that is fundamental to a thriving democracy.”

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