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Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014

Conference proposes a 6-year single term for Attorneys General

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By Patrick Andrew

The National Conference has recommended that both the Attorney General of the Federal and that of the states would serve a single tenure of six years as against the present practice where the tenure is not fixed.

 Such an appointment would be by the President and confirmed by the Senate in the case of the Attorney General of the Federation; while the state governor would make the appointment subject to confirmation by the State House of Assembly in the case of states.

It was also resolved on Tuesday that such an appointee who must be someone of unquestionable integrity must have qualified as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and must have been so qualified for a period not less than 15 years.

 Conference said any appointee to the office of AGF shall be removed from office by the President acting on a two-third majority vote of the Senate for failure to discharge the functions of his office whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause or for misconduct.

The conference also resolved that the concept of plea bargain be completely abolished. This will enable criminal and corruption cases to run their full course in contrast to the present situation where people accused of corruption are set free after parting with a fraction of their looted public funds.

 These were parts of the resolutions adopted by the Conference on Monday when it considered recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee on Law, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Reforms headed by retired Justice George A. Oguntade and Professor Auwalu Yadudu who served as deputy chairman.

 Delegates to the Conference who decided unanimously on these said the resolutions if well implemented, would offer the needed solutions to the teething thematic problems experienced in the Nigerian Legal System.

Delegates agreed that appeals from the National Industrial Court should terminate at the Federal Court of Appeal except for matters of weighty constitutional significance, civil liberties, and matters of overriding public interest with the leave of the court.

 While recommending building of more prisons across the country, Conference voted against the removal of Prisons from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List; against the advice of the Committee.

 It was also resolved that convicted pregnant women or nursing should be allowed to deliver and nurse their babies for two years before serving their sentences in prison.

 In addition, no awaiting trial prisoner shall be detained for longer than the period he or she would have served if convicted of the crime he is charged with.

 Cases of extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses are to be dispensed with within 12 months; according a decision adopted by the Conference.

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