ACJA 2015 is key to success of Justice Sector Reform ― Solicitor General

Justice Sector ReformTHE Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata has revealed that the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 is one of the key points of Justice Sector Reform in Nigeria.

In a press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN said he made this statement at the Network of Justice Sector Reform Teams Conference in Benin City, Edo State on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

He added that the Act provides a broad legal framework for a more effective cross-sector collaboration and oversight between agencies in criminal justice administration and protect the rights of citizens.

According to him “Section 29 (1) of the Act provides a mechanism for the interface between the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation as well as the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General of the State.

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“The Section of the Act requires the Inspector General of Police to remit quarterly to the Attorney General of the Federation a record of all arrest made with or without a warrant in relation to federal offences within Nigeria.”

He continued that, “On the other hand, Section 29 (2) of the Act requires the Commissioner of Police of a State or head of agency authorised to make an arrest and to remit quarterly report to the Attorney General of the State records of arrest with respect to state offences.”

Apata who also is Chairman, Federal Justice Sector Reform Committee explained that the conference is significant as it attests to the determination of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee (FJSRCC) and their development partners to continue to galvanise justice sector stakeholders in their collective efforts in reforming the Justice System for effective and efficient justice delivery and promotion of the rule of law.

He explained that FJSRCC since the last Network of Justice Sector Reform Teams Conference has continued to work with stakeholders in organizing series of workshops aimed at addressing the various challenges militating against the cross-institutional effective and efficient administration of Justice.

According to him, the committee has developed a draft templates and protocols set out as agreed principles and guidelines for robust information gathering, sharing and management as well as frame cross-institutional problems.

Apata noted that the number of reform teams since the last conference has increased from 24 to 27 states with more states signifying their readiness to establish their team.

Speaking, the Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki while declaring the conference open said the state had recently inaugurated the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) Monitoring Committee to ensure that criminal justice law is properly administered.

Obaseki, who was represented by his Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperative and Employment, Mr Emmanuel Usoh disclosed that his administration is to drive reformation that is geared towards upholding the right of citizens and improving the course of justice.

He highlighted some areas the state had made progress, such as hosting of the first South-South Conference on National Policy on Justice, collaborating with other Agencies and foreign governments in order to curb human rights abuses of young women and men who are trafficked to many countries in Europe.

The governor also stressed that it established functional multi-door courthouse and family courts within the state to ensure that sensitive issues are quickly resolved among others.

The Programme Director, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC), Dr Bob Arnot expressed satisfaction over the numerical growth of Justice Sector Reform from 2 – 27 in Nigeria.

Arnot assured that the Network would be useful through information sharing, sharing of practice but was worried on its sustenance when ROLAC and other donor agencies stop funding it; pointing out that the conference should be looking at ways to fund the project.

He, therefore, called on individual states and the federal government to make concrete efforts towards sustaining the sector.

Secretary (FJSRCC), Mr Felix Ota-Okogie in his opening remarks stated that “this is the bi-annual conference this year and they are working towards gathering of justice institutions in the country.”

He expressed appreciation to the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice for his time to grace the occasion in order to ensure that Justice Reform Systems in Nigeria is better and effective while thanking the European Union for their support in terms of funding.

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