Last updated on August 17th, 2023 at 03:06 pm
Who is Nigeria’s Minister of Justice?
The incumbent Attorney-General of The Federation and Minister of Justice is Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
After his screening by the National Assembly, he got the portfolio on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, after President Bola Tinubu released his 45-member cabinet.
Understanding the Federal Ministry of Justice
The Federal Ministry of Justice is one of the cardinal ministries of the Federal Government. It has never experienced a name change except in the 1960s and since then the name has remained.
Although there have been calls by some legal luminaries that the Minister of Justice should be separated from the Attorney General of the Federation.
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Some of them asserted that the Minister of Justice should be appointed by the President while the Attorney General of the Federation should be a career civil servant in the ministry, but “two” designations is still being managed by the same person.
The Minister of Justice is the “lawyer” of the Federal Government and he does this by bringing cases that affect FG before the courts of jurisdiction and he’s a political appointee of the ruling government.
Lateef Fagbemi succeeds Abubakar Malami as the incumbent minister of justice. Malami was appointed in 2015 and again in 2019 till May 29, 2023.
10 Key Functions of Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice
1) Defending civil cases on behalf of FG
2) Negotiating contracts and agreements on behalf of government agencies for the interest of Nigeria
3) Vetting contracts to ensure that the interest of Nigeria is protected
4) Advising Ministry, Departments, and Agencies on legal matters (MDAs)
5) Makes useful contributions and facilitates government policies to ensure that they have legal backings.
6) To ensure that due process is followed to the letter by MDAs
7) Collaborating with legal stakeholders within and outside Nigeria (international community) on topics that would ensure quick justice delivery.
8) It collaborates with other ministries in Nigeria in legal matters
9) The ministry represents FG in global deals through the minister of justice or by appointing a legal representative
10) The ministry of justice is also in charge of tracking all assets recovered from corrupt politicians and civil servants within and outside Nigeria e.g assets recovered from Diezani Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources. Her expensive bra, pieces of jewelry, and mansions among others have been put on auction.
The ministry house several departments and agencies that help in its day-to-day activities for it to achieve it mandates of establishments. It is important to note that the departments are divided into two: 1) professional and 2) service and with eight other units.
- Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation
- Solicitors Department
- Legal Drafting
- Law Reporting and Publications
- Civil Litigation and Public Law
- Planning, Research and Statistics
- Finance and Account
- Human Resources Management
- Citizens’ Right
- International and Comparative Law
- General Services.
- Reform Coordination and Service Improvement
Below is a list of agencies that make up the ministry of justice
|Justice Agencies||Year of Establishment|
|Nigeria Law Reform Commission||July 1979|
|Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration||1989|
|Legal Aid Council of Nigeria||1976|
|National Human Right Commission (NHRC)||1995|
|Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Study (NIALS)||1979|
|Nigeria Copyright Commission||1989|
|National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)||1989|
|Council for Legal Education (Nigeria Law School)||1962|
|National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NPATIP)||July 14, 2003|
What are the mandates of Ministry of Justice agencies?
Nigeria Law Reform Commission
To conduct inquiries into, and make recommendations for changes to existing law in Nigeria
Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration
To provide a platform for the settlement of disputes for the benefit of parties engaged in trade, commerce and investment
Legal Aid Council of Nigeria
To assist Nigerians to have access to legal advice, assistance, and representation in court for the dispensation of justice
National Human Right Commission (NHRC)
To adequately respond to allegations of human rights violations, advocacy, and education.
Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Study (NIALS)
To conduct capacity building for lawyers and judges on diverse criminal justice issues as related to law.
Nigeria Copyright Commission
To monitor and administer copyright laws to protect the interest of an originator of an idea and creative work.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
To arrest illegal and illicit use and sales of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances importation and use or sales in Nigeria
Council for Legal Education (Nigeria Law School)
To provide practical training for aspiring Legal Practitioners in Nigeria
National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NPATIP)
To combat human trafficking and other similar human rights violations on Nigerian soil. And enlighten Nigerians on issues related to human trafficking.
Contact details of Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice
- Headquarters: Plot 71B Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama Abuja
- Official website: justice.gov.ng
- Facebook: @FedMinOfJusticeNG
- Twitter: @FedMinOfJustice
The ministry has not done enough in protecting the rights of Nigeria, most times, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General look away when the fundamental rights of Nigerians are infringed upon.
For instance, the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria is just another agency whose activities have not been felt at the local areas.
And how many Nigerians have got legal aid from the council? How quickly do they respond to violation issues and complaints?