Govts urged to revamp Criminal Justice system
By Sunmola Olowookere
Governments at all tiers have been called upon to revamp the criminal justice system in Nigeria and to equip the Nigeria Police Force for thorough investigation that would ensure that justice is served in criminal prosecutions.
This call was contained in a communique issued at the conclusion of the meeting of Ondo State administration of Criminal Justice working group held in Akure, Ondo State capital.
The statement which was signed by the State Coordinator of the group, Joshua Sebiotimo, also called on stakeholders in the criminal justice system to simplify and make available to all security agencies the Administration of Criminal Justice Law document with adequate sensitization on the content of the law, in order to guide security agents in their operations.
Federal and state governments were also advised to organize seminars for Law Enforcement Agents towards ensuring that they are kept abreast of the new innovations in the Law.
The Group as a measure of support proposed to collaborate with the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State Command on sensitisation of police officers and the general public on the provisions of ACJA/ACJL.
It also planned to educate stake on the powers of the Police to grant administrative bail in deserving cases, and the sensitisation of the public on the function of bail, which is to ensure that suspects stand trial as against the belief that a case has been compromised as generally believed by some complainants.
The group which is saddled with promoting accountability and transparency in the Administration of Criminal Justice System in Nigeria consist of stakeholders in the justice sector.
The Group advised that human rights should be respected at all times by persons and organisations saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the Law stressing that the public should be sensitized on the existence of the Law through pamphlets, visitations and media advertisements
The communique stressed the need for continuous capacity building of all security agents
It also advised that the ousted jurisdiction of the Magistrate Courts in some misdemeanor offences which has led to prison congestion should be addressed.
It further stated that the period for remand of a suspect under the Law is too lengthy compared to the period under the Act.