We previously spent N500m to prosecute cases annually – Bauchi Attorney General

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The Bauchi State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Hassan El-Yakub, has revealed that the state government spent an average of N500 million annually to prosecute criminal cases before he came on board.

Speaking at the state ministerial briefing on Friday, the attorney general mentioned that 557 cases comprising armed robbery, culpable homicide, rape, kidnapping and other minor offences were recorded between January 2023 and June 2024.

Speaking on the cost implications of the prosecutions before he assumed office, El-Yakub revealed: “All high-profile cases were given out to external solicitors, mostly Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, and an average fee of N500 million was spent yearly in settling their fees. This trend has now been reversed. We now handle all such cases in-house, thereby saving the state this huge amount.

“We have also successfully defended most of the garnishee proceedings and cases that have hitherto held the state to ransom and we have made it a policy in the ministry not to allow, under any circumstances, such cases to reoccur in the future.

“We have, from just three cases, between 2023 to date, saved the state the sum of N1,858,412,289.”

He added that the ministry, being a service-rendering ministry, was able to generate the sum of N236,618,298 from drafting agreements and other legal instruments from 2023 to date.

“Upon assumption of duty, I identified some of the challenges bedevilling the ministry, which are responsible for the low rate of productivity and the negative perception of the ministry, which mainly include the following: lack of sufficient manpower, and lack of basic working materials,” he said.

Speaking on the challenges faced by the ministry so far, the Commissioner disclosed that Governor Mohammed Bala has approved the hiring of 20 state counsels—10 in 2023 and an additional 10 in 2024—which has significantly addressed the manpower issue in the ministry.

According to him, the governor has also reconstituted the Advisory Council on Preoperative of Mercy in accordance with Section 3 (1) and (2) of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy (Establishment) Law, Bauchi State Law No. 10 of 2001, Cap. 114, via a letter dated December 6, 2023, with reference No. GO/GS/S/CMT/24/T.I.

El-Yakub further stated that the governor had also approved and directed the release of N308,690,880 for the settlement of judgement debts inherited from the previous administration, to be paid in instalments.

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