Group Identifies Obstacles Hindering Implementation Criminal Justice in Enugu StateFeatured, Latest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State, Uncategorized Friday, October 18th, 2019
From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Enugu State Working Group (SWG) on implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2017 in the state, has identified nonexistence of witness support unit in the state, filing of inappropriate charges against suspects by police, as well as lack of community Service centers as some of the obstacles militating against its implementation in the state.
The group, therefore, resolved to resume advocacy visits to critical stakeholders in the state such as the new State Commissioner of police, Ahmad Abdulrahman; the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Miletus Eze; the State Solicitor General, Ezenwukwa Ikechukwu Director of Citizen’s Rights and Mediation Centre, Enugu, among others .
The group also observed that barriers such as lack of legal representation to some suspects (which delays justice), lack of witness support (transport allowance to witnesses), has not helped maters, emphasising the need for the strengthening of citizen’s rights and mediation center in the state.
African Examiner reports that two foreign organizations, Clean Foundation and MacArthur Foundation are driving the implementation of ACJA 2015 in Nigeria, via funding of a project, tagged: “Promoting Accountability and Transparency in the Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria” which is being coordinated in Enugu state by two non-governmental organizations, Women Information Network (WINET) and African Law Foundation (AFRILAW).
The working group, spearheaded by AFRILAW and WINET, also have as members, the Legal Aids Council of Nigeria, the media, National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), police, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corruption Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), and Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation (CAPIO).
They expressed worry on the gaps in the implementation of the laws in the state, urging all stakeholders to rise up and play their parts in ensuring
its implementation for the good of the citizenry.
Speaking on Wednesday during her 3rd bi-monthly State Working Group meeting, held at the conference room of AFRILAW, office in Enugu, the body, noted that lack of Community service centre in the state, has remained a serious challenge to the implementation of the law in the area, as it has denied the citizens the services of probation officer which ought to be appointed by the state ministry of Justice.
The group had during the meeting resolved that one of the issues to be taken up with the Enugu state Commissioner of Police is the need for him to direct his Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to receive Magistrates in the state during the proposed inspection visit of police cells in the state as provided by the riminal justice act and law.
According to the working group, such visit would enable the Magistrates to ascertain the condition of detainees, extra-judicial detentions (if any), illegal detentions and inappropriate charges (if any) as well as other related issues.
The advocacy meeting with Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Solicitor General of the State will address among other things, the need for Magistrates to also send Hearing Notices simultaneously when sending information to the State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to enable the DPP harmonize case movements and to send legal officers during court proceedings.
Executive Director of AFRILAW, Barrister Chinwike Okereke, who chaired the meeting, had informed members that all was set for the official inauguration of the state Resource Centre, which has been fully equipped with necessary facilities, adding that “what we are just waiting for now is to get a date from the state Chief judge.
The Resource Centre which is located inside the state High court premises, will be opened to members of the public who wants to access court judgments and other relevant documents uploaded by the working group, especially corruption related court verdicts.
Chinwike, equally harped on the need for the group to always ensure more robust inter-agency collaborations, especially among the Ministry of Justice, Courts, the DPP, Police and Correctional Service; in order to mitigate obstacles against smooth implementation of the administration of criminal justice Act and Law in the state.
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