(Mar. 10, 2010) The European Union, under the Financing Agreement No. 9356/UNI “EU Support to Law Enforcement against Economic and Financial Crimes,” has granted Nigeria's judiciary N5.2 billion (about US$34 million) to help combat economic and financial crime and strengthen judicial integrity and capacity. The grant, funded by the European Development Fund for the period 2006-2010, is being implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The EU-Nigeria Financing Agreement seeks “to strengthen Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Judiciary by providing them with the necessary technical and material support.” The objective of the EU/UNODC project overall “is to enhance good governance and financial accountability, and to reduce the incidence of fraud, waste and corruption in Nigeria through support to the EFCC and the Judiciary, and to other relevant institutions.” (EU/UNODC Project (NGAS08): Summary and Context of the Action, National Judicial Institute website, http://www.nji.gov.ng/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=
52&Itemid=161 (last visited Mar. 5, 2010); Nigeria to Improve Performance Evaluation and Management in Judiciary, GUIDE2NIGERIA, Mar. 3, 2010, available at http://www.guide2nigeria.com/news/104/Nigeria-to-improve-performance-eva
The UNODC field project to help Nigeria's judicial system is called Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity. According to an undated description on the UNODC website, the project budget is US$292,952 and the duration period 24 months. (UNODC website, http://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/judicialintegrity.html (last visited Mar. 5, 2010).)
On February 23 and 24, 2010, the EU grant funded an International Conference on Judicial Performance Evaluation, held by Nigeria's National Judicial Institute (a judicial training and research body) in collaboration with the UNODC. More than 120 senior members of Nigeria's judiciary, along with some foreign judicial officials, attended. The Nigerian participants included a former chief justice, a former President of the Court of Appeal, members of the National Judicial Council (NJC), representatives of the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, and chief judges of most of Nigeria's states. After extensive deliberation on the current performance evaluation system, which is carried out by the NJC, participants concluded that the judiciary had outgrown it and that new measures to complement the system were needed. (Isaac Anumihe,EU Grants Nigeria N5.2bn to Fight Crime, DAIILY SUN ONLINE (Lagos), Mar. 4, 2010, available at http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/national/2010/mar/04/national
Among other measures to improve the system, participants recommended that the NJC establish a working group to assess evaluations conducted in recent years by different players, civil society included. It was also suggested that the NJC “revisit the objectives and goals of performance evaluation as well as the criteria and methodology” used in the process. (GUIDE2NIGERIA, supra.) Participants also held “that a holistic performance evaluation system should seek to capture the perspectives of key clients of the courts such as lawyers, prosecutors and court users – in order to further enhance overall confidence in the Nigerian judiciary.” (Id.)