Muhammed Lawal Uwais
Former Chief Justice and Chairman of the Electoral Reforms Committee, Nigeria
Focus: Reconciling Economic Policy and Institution-Building Goals, Eliminating Markets for Public Office, Containing Patronage Pressures
Keywords: electoral reform, judiciary, bribery, coalitions, funding, training, anti corruption, education
Interviewer(s): Itumeleng Makgetla
Country of Reform: Nigeria
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Date: Mon Aug 31 2009
Muhammed Lawal Uwais explains the efforts made to implement judicial reform in Nigeria when he was chief justice. He goes into detail about the funding base for the judiciary and the problems encountered at the state level in improving this funding, and its implications for judicial reform and the responsiveness of the government. He discusses the need for more judges due to increased caseloads and its budgetary needs. He also talks about judicial integrity and the need to eliminate bribery, corruption, nepotism and political interference within the judicial system. As part of the judicial reform process, he cites training in computers and efforts to computerize the court system. He explains the need for the courts to become more open to the public such as through complaint boxes and education on the role of judges within the legal system. Finally he talks about overcoming the challenges posed by people ingrained in the old system of bribery and corruption, and the methods of recruiting new talent in an effort to purge the system of those people.
Full InterviewDownload MP3 (89.8MB)
Muhammed Lawal Uwais-Full Interview
Muhammed Lawal Uwais served as chief justice of Nigeria and as chairman of the Electoral Reforms Committee. His involvement in the Nigerian judicial system began in the 1960s. He held various positions within the judicial system before becoming chief justice, such as state counsel and senior state counsel. He worked in the Court of Appeal for 16 years. He studied at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, and the University of London and Inn of Court, School of Law.