Stakeholders clamour for states to domesticate criminal justice act

Funmi Lawrence

Concerned stakeholders in the judicial sector have called for the domestication of the criminal justice act the every states of the federal to allow for speedy dispensation of justice.

 

Mr Frank Ijege, Legal Officer, TransparencIT, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) made this known in Abuja at a Public Policy Dialogue on Corruption Cases and Administration of Criminal Justice Act Compliance.

 

The dialogue was organised by TransapencIT in partnership with Trust Africa.

 

Ijege noted before the enactment of the act, there had been issues and challenges affecting the speedy completion of matters.

 

“We are here to discuss issues affecting corruption cases in Nigeria and the administration of criminal justice act.

 

“Prior to the enactment of this Act, we had issues and challenges affecting the speedy completion of corruption matters so with the advent of the act there are innovations to fast track cases.

 

” But if we can now have a situation where there is faithful implementation of the act, then the number of days cases last in the court will be reduced drastically and also we are calling for other states to also domesticate this to have their own administration of criminal justice so that cases that has been pending for so many year we can do away with them.”

 

Ijege also explained that judges handling criminal cases are the same judges that handles normal cases hence the need to have specialised courts to trial matters considering the fact that corruption has eaten deep into our system.

 

He said establishing specialised courts specifically for handling corruption cases will lead to speedy dispensation of justice.

 

” This judges are human beings and their diaries are very tight it is possible that they are overwhelmed with the number of cases they handle on a daily basis but if you have specialised court to trial corruption cases, it can ease their work.

 

“And they will be able to administer justice at the short possible time cases are brought to the court and it will be justice for the society, justice for the defendant and justice for our nation.

 

 

 

” In practice, we discover that a judge has an average of 10-20 cases in a day which comes up for trial but how possible is this judge able to handle this cases,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, Mr Henry Anoliefo, Programme Officer, Partners West Africa, Nigeria called for capacity building to criminal justice actors such as the magistrates and the justices.

 

Anoliefo said that majority of the judicial actors do not know what the provisions of the act is saying, hence the need for the training that will give rise to compliance of the act.

 

He, therefore, called for more funding as a key player in the success of compliance of the administration of criminal justice act.

 

Also, Mr Joshua Dada, a lawyer said that the implementation of the act was an impediment to handling corruption cases in the country.

 

Dada also identified lack of synergy between investigating agencies as problems in the administration of criminal justice in the country.

 

He further called for the appointment of more judges to handle corruption cases pending in the courts.

 

He, therefore, called for a committee to be set up to review the administration of the criminal justice act before prosecution in court.

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