The Thomson Reuters Foundation and General Electric Co. hosted a high-level workshop in Lagos, Nigeria to identify legal reforms needed to strengthen the rule of law and to combat corruption.
Over 70 leading Nigerian judges, attorney generals, lawyers, business people and civil society groups identified 28 actions that could improve the quality and timeliness of justice delivered in Nigeria, a country ranked by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index as having one of the most corrupt judicial systems in the world.
Among the actions identified: the enforcement and monitoring of the Code of Ethics, stricter asset disclosure for judges (both during and after they leave office), computer skills training for court staff, lawyers and judges, and expanded programs on mediation and arbitration to ease the work load of courts. The event was organised by Stella Dawson, Editor, Governance and Corruption for Thomson Reuters Foundation and Ken Resnick, Vice President & General Counsel for GE Oil & Gas.
“The quality of people attending the event shows its significance,” said workshop attendee Kenny Aina, Director of Negotiation and Conflict Management Group and Partner at Aina Blankson LP, Lagos. “It’s now crucial to keep up the momentum and to follow through. Let’s do not drop the ball.”
Jurists, business people and NGOs participating in the event believe Nigeria’s judiciary system has become so inefficient and corrupt, it threatens the positive development trajectory of the country. They therefore expressed solid and urgent commitment to continue working together to implement positive changes in the form of legal reforms. The Thomson Reuters Foundation and General Electric will now discuss with the participants how best to support implementation of the proposals in the year ahead.