A member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), and the Chairman, Anambra State Justice Sector Reform Team, Barrister Peter Obiorah, has called on relevant stakeholders in the judicial sector, the Police, Army, Prisons and Government to step up their games to help the sector from collapses, noting that it is in crisis.
He said the sector is in crisis because almost all the correctional centres in the country are congested and that the numbers of courts available to trial those cases are inadequate.
Obiorah, who stated this at a one-day sensitisation meeting for the NBA members, Anambra State branch, on Implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Laws ACJL (Remand, Plea Bargain and Legal Representation), organised by Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption/British Council/European Union in collaboration with Anambra State Justice Sector Reform Team and the State Ministry of Justice, in Awka, on Friday, argued that a sound criminal justice system in any nation is a precursor to economic growth, political stability and social equilibrium.
“I am saying this for the government of the day to know that what Nigerians who are in the correctional centres are passing through, waiting for their judgement in court, is nothing to write home about.
“Criminal justice is one of the indices every government, especially Nigeria must work hard at for it to be accorded that self-reliant status that developing nations desperately seek to achieve”, he added.
The legal practitioner, while appealing to the Federal Government to yield to the demands of the judicial workers, assure ROLAC of their commitment to practice what they had learnt in their various areas of operation.
The State Coordinator of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, Lady Josephine Onah, in her address, stressed that the major objective of the sensitisation was to bring together criminal justice practitioners, lawyers, as well as operators of the various institutions of criminal justice including policymakers and legislators to fathom ways of strengthening the system not only in Anambra State but the entire country.
She also said that the sensitisation workshop was aimed at reducing the pretrial detention of suspects by improving transparency and efficiency in the disposal of criminal cases.
” We will commence visits to all the Police station and correctional centres to ensure that criminal suspects are well-taking care of, Lady Onah said.
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