Malami, State AGs, Others Seek Uniform Criminal Justice Act Administration

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*Say present justice system cannot fight crime

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, alongside states Attorney Generals as well as other critical stakeholders in the justice sector have called for uniformity in the minimum standard for the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws operated by both the federal and state governments.

The stakeholders that spoke at a summit on the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for effective implementation of the ACJA, 2015 and ACJLs, agreed that there was need to change the way the ACJA and ACJLs were being handled.

Malami, in a goodwill, commended the Center for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) for coming up with compelling need to lay down workable modes and opened up the avenue to receive inputs from stakeholders including local and international agencies in the evaluation process to get a document that is workable and acceptable to all.

The AGF, who was represented by a staff in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. shauibu Abdulraheem, assured stakeholders of his cooperation and support in the realization of the laudable initiative.“As a major stakeholder driving the administration of justice, however, we are aware that there are challenges here and there, and we hope this forum will be in a better position to identify, address and erase these issues on the front burner with the view of proffering solution for a robust justice sector development for the benefit of all”, he said.Adding that the initiative would enhance the nation’s criminal justice system to ensure that justice was served to all manner of persons.

In a welcome, President of the CSLS, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, said several of the security and developmental challenges facing the country presently were due to the low capacity of the criminal justice system to prevent or punish wrongdoing and reward positive contributions.He lamented that despite the passage of the ACJA and ACJLs by several states, criminal justice administration in the country remains lethargic, erratic and dysfunctional.

“The manifestations of this include increasing wave of criminality, poor investigation of crimes, and lack-lustre prosecution resulting in delay of cases, congestion of courts and correctional facilities, etc,” he added.The Learned Law Professor, however, argued that the National Minimum Standard Project was designed to inject vibrancy into the criminal justice system by serving as a catalyst for improved implementation of the ACJA and ACJLs by agencies of Criminal Justice administration at the federal and state levels.

“This is an effort to harmonise and strengthen the criminal justice system, by developing minimum standards to guide federal agencies and state governments in implementing the ACJA/ACJLs across the country,” he added.

He said the plan was to identify common elements in the federal ACJA and ACJLs of the various states and agree on standards that would be developed into benchmarks or indicators by which the federal agencies and the states will be evaluated.

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