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03.06.2004 General News

Let's strengthen existing good relationships-A-G

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Accra, June 3, GNA - Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of Justice and Attorney General on Thursday stressed the need for Ghana and Nigeria to strengthen the existing cordial relationship in their judicial systems. To this end, he said, the judiciary in the two countries should continue to share and exchange ideas that would help enhance and speed up their justice delivery.

Papa Ankomah made the call when a five-member judicial delegation from Nigeria paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra. The delegation, led by Mr Justice Afolabi Fatai Adeyinka, Chief Judge of Lagos State, is in the country to understudy Ghana's Fast Track Court (FTC) System, to see how best it can be successfully replicated in Nigeria.

Papa Ankomah noted that since the histories of Ghana and Nigeria have the same past, it was up to the two nations to cement their bond of relationships to make it more endearing.

On the issue of staffing at the Attorney General's department, he expressed grave concern about inadequate number of staff, and said everything possible was being done to ensure that lawyers in public service received attractive incentive packages in the form of remuneration and scholarships for further studies, to entice them to remain on government's payroll.

Turning to the bench, the Attorney General said, career magistrates were being trained to take up appointments as magistrates, to help man the lower courts, adding that, they would rise through the ranks to become senior and then chief magistrates, before retiring finally at the age of 60 years.

Mr Justice Adeyinka lauded Ghana for the remarkable improvements in her judicial system, and was optimistic that Nigeria would take a cue from Ghana's FTC system to ensure the speedy delivery of justice. Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in charge of Lagos State, and a member of the delegation, thanked the government for the warm reception accorded them, and hoped that their Ghanaian counterparts in the judiciary would reciprocated the visit.