In 1950, the Lidbury Commission was set up to review the Civil Service and make recommendations. It recommended the establishment of ministries based on the British Home Office. Among the ministries was ‘Justice’ under which there was the Attorney-General’s Department. When the first all-African Cabinet was founded in 1954, a “Minister of Justice” was appointed to replace the Legal Secretary of Justice.
The Ministry of Justice is responsible for legal matters in relation to the exercise of executive power of the State and also legislative drafting in relation to legislative power of the State. Indeed, Article 88(5) of the constitution provides that “the Attorney-General shall be responsible for the institution of all civil cases on behalf of the State; and all civil proceedings against the State shall be instituted against the Attorney-General as Defendant.
An efficient and accessible system of justice exhibiting highest standards of professionalism and engendering a high degree of public trust and confidence
The Ministry of Justice, headed by the Attorney-General, exists to entrench at the core of the body politic an abiding respect for the rule of law and a constant observance of human rights, equality of access of justice and equality of treatment before the law for all citizens, to promote by law social justice, to facilitate the operations of a fair, efficient and transparent legal system, and to propagate a culture of due process and legality. For these purposes, the Minister acts as the defender of the constitutional order, the guarantor of the rights and liberties of the citizen, the protector of the state’s legal interests, the enforcer of the criminal laws, the developer of the human resources of the Legal sector and the champion of the law.
In helping to create and sustain a reputable legal system, the Minister contributes not only to fostering good governance and social peace, but also to strengthen the investment prospect of the national economy.
The ministry, like other agencies of the State, is thus fully engaged in the fight against poverty. The highest standards of professionalism in its dealings and transparency in its conduct constitute the bedrock of the Ministry in carrying out its statutory responsibilities