The Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mrs Beatrice Jeddy-Agba, has said the Ministry of Justice did not receive any budgetary allocation for the settlement of judgment debts.
Jeddy-Agba, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, made this known in Abuja at a dialogue on accessing remedies for human rights violations in Nigeria.
Represented by Mr Enoch Simon, a director in the litigation department of the Attormey-General of the Federation’s office, she said: “Since 2019, the Federal Ministry of Justice has not received any budgetary allocation for settlement of judgment debt”.
She decried that inspite of the available legal framework in the country, the timely prosecution of fundamental rights cases and enforcement of the resulting judgments remained a major challenge for the government.
She said it was unfortunate that the ministry was often compelled to pay judgment debts from unlawful actions of law enforcement institutions and agents.
“Most often, security or law enforcement agencies are the actual judgment debtors since their actions and inactions occasion the infractions.
“However, the Ministry of Justice is dragged into the arena either because the Attorney-General of the Federation is sued as a nominal party or the judgment creditor approaches the AGF to grant consent, pursuant to the provisions of section 84 (1-3) of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act.
“As a matter of due process and FGN Financial Regulations, if is the policy of the Federal Ministry of Finance that payment of judgment debt by any agency must be based on clearance by the Attorney-General and requisite budgetary appropriation,” NAN quoted her as saying.
The solicitor-general said some debtor agencies refer judgment debts to the Attorney-General for intervention.