Nigeria is setting up special courts to speed up the trial of corruption cases and give a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to fulfil an electoral pledge to stamp out graft in Africa’s biggest oil producer, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said.
“The chief justice has given the directive to all the 36 states to designate one court for the trial of corruption,” Mohammed said in an interview recently in London. “Taking out corruption cases and putting them in special courts is going to fast-track the prosecution.”
Buhari, whose election in 2015 marked the first time in Nigeria’s history an opposition candidate defeated an incumbent, campaigned on ending widespread corruption and reforming the country of more than 180 million people. Instead, a plunge in output and prices of crude, the nation’s main export and source of two-thirds of government revenue, sent the economy into its biggest slump in a quarter century.
The administration’s guiding principle is to remain committed to the war on graft and use the savings for national development, Mohammed said. Nigeria ranked 136 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. “If you want to fight corruption, you’ll have to get ready for corruption to fight back. And corruption is fighting back very, very viciously,” he said. “But despite that, I think the government remains very focused and very committed.”