The Courts in Nigeria have been on lockdown for about 7 weeks now with no clear knowledge of when the JUSUN strike will be over.
The JUSUN strike which is the most potent strike so far and which has yielded the desired impact in bringing the attention of the public to the need for an independent Judiciary has inadvertently also shown the public that the Judiciary is a very important institution in our day to day lives.
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The Lagos State Judiciary, specifically the Magistracy for instance has been visiting police detention facilities across the State for the last 2 weeks.
The Magistrates have handled more than 400 cases so far at various police detention facilities, granting suspects bail, releasing others and ordering the remand of others pending DPP Advice. (If the people cannot go to the Judiciary will go to the people)
The Judiciary has shown Nigerians that it is still the last hope of the common man.
The Judiciary has not done this alone, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice Office of the Public Defender, the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association Branches in Lagos State have supported the efforts of the Judiciary by accompanying the Magistrates on these visits.
It is important to note that the Nigeria Police have been very cooperative in these efforts to decongest Police detention facilities and have done extremely well under the circumstances.
Covid 19 and the JUSUN strike presented us with a serious challenge in the Administration of Criminal Justice but Government working together with civil society and other international partners have come together to face and overcome these challenges using the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme and the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act
I believe much more can be achieved in decongesting our courts and correctional facilities moving forward….let’s think outside the box and use technology effectively.
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