Tinubu to ECOWAS judges: Integrous, accountable judicial systems will strengthen democracy in West Africa

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Thursday reaffirmed his commitment as the Chairman of the Authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government to advancing judicial reforms with determined support.

Speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the ECOWAS Judicial Council led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the Council, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, at the State House in Abuja, the President said integrous and accountable judicial systems would strengthen democracy across West Africa

”We are committed to transformative democracy because we believe the judiciary can protect democracy. We are ready to support you as learned minds who have the requisite experience and institutional memory to comprehensively reform our institutions.

“I assure you as Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government that the judiciary is one of the pillars to protect our democracy and it is only in this regard that we can make a difference on the continent,” he said.

The President congratulated judges from member-states who participated in the two-day council meeting in Abuja, applauding the successful conclusion of their deliberations.

He assured them that their recommendations would receive utmost consideration by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

”We will work with you to ensure that your expertise is employed to promote justice in our democratic experiences on the continent and in the region. You are truly the last hope of the common man across our sub-region,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the ECOWAS Judicial Council, Justice Ariwoola emphasized the council’s commitment to facilitating the effective functioning of the ECOWAS judicial system.

He said the council, at the end of its meeting in Abuja, agreed to establish two sub-committees to address pertinent judiciary-related issues in the region.

He also said the first sub-committee will look into the rules of procedure of the Council itself, which were found to be inadequate.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria explained that members from Benin Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone have been tasked to work on the rules of procedure on the Judicial Council.

Justice Ariwoola further explained that the Council of Ministers had tasked the Judicial Council, in collaboration with the Commission and the Community Court, to address the enforcement of judgments issued by the community court.

”The court under the guidance of its President has made presentations which have adequately informed the Judicial Council on the issues and challenges encountered in the enforcement of the judgments.

“The Judicial Council was of the opinion that a second committee was required to tackle the issue because of the complexity of the matter.

”The members of this second sub-committee are: Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cabo Verde, and Togo,” he said.

Justice Ariwoola said the sub-committees would present their findings to the Judicial Council, which would subsequently make recommendations to the Authority of Heads of State and Government.