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April 18, 2024
You are currently viewing Synergy crucial in reshaping weak points of criminal justice system, says Fagbemi
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN,

Synergy crucial in reshaping weak points of criminal justice system, says Fagbemi

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By Ebere Agozie

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, says synergy and collaboration are crucial in reshaping the weak points of the criminal justice system.

Fagbemi said this at the two-day workshop on Criminal Justice Stakeholders on ‘Coordination for Effective Implementation of Sections 29, 33 and 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice ACT, 2015 on Monday in Abuja.

“The purpose of this workshop is to bring about that missing link within our collective aspirations to build a society where justice prevails, regardless of the circumstances.

“Our roles as law judicial officers, prosecutors, enforcement agencies, civil society organizations and indeed citizens are to ensure prompt justice delivery.

“None of us is immune to or insulated from the challenges of our present system, and it is essential to recognise that the transformation of criminal justice system is embedded in our collective efforts.

“We must build a resilient and efficient model, we must learn from the mistakes of others and work together to create a system we can trust, rely on, and be proud of.

He said it is high time stakeholders faced the challenges head-on and optimise the system for the benefit of all.

“It is without doubt that in the landscape of our criminal justice system, we face challenges in the enforcement of some sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 especially sections 29, 33 and 34.

“These prevailing challenges lies basically in the absence of coordinated approach and the making of the requisite sacrifices involved as the need arises to enforce the existing laws and policies.

“We will continue to focus on the coordination for the effective implementation of arrests, prompt delivery of statutory reports on arrests and the crucial monthly visits by magistrates to detention facilities”.

He noted that Section 29 of ACJA, 2015 emphasises the establishment of a database for records of those arrested for proper accountability.

“In this digital age, data is not just information, it is life, and when properly utilised, it becomes a powerful tool in shaping government policies and recognition of patterns.

“Data sharing is crucial, and the lack thereof contributes to the loss of lives every day and some crimes are preventable when data is properly harnessed or shared”.

He said that the implementation of the section in line with the specific details outlined in section 15 of ACJA, 2015 will require the collaboration of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) towards the creation of a robust database for informed decision-making process.

“While it is important to recognize all divisions that has been consistent, till date there are some police stations that do not comply with the provision of sections 29 and 33 of ACJA with regards to the rendering of monthly reports of suspects arrested without warrants.

“We have also noticed a reduction in the monthly visits by the judicial officers to detention facilities”.

He commended the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and donor partners on the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) and the Court Duty Solicitor Scheme (CDSS).

He noted that the Police duty solicitors are presently stationed in over 15 Police Divisions in the FCT.

“The scheme has continued to monitor compliance with the provisions of ACJA, and ensures that arrested persons are treated with dignity.

“Records have shown that the PDSS has ensured access to justice, right to counsel, legal services and right to fair trial to over 28,000 detainees since inception in February 2022.

“It has in collaboration with the Police Divisions in the FCT, taken the extra efforts to ensure a healthy condition of the cells.

“In addition, the Court Duty Solicitors has continued to offer free preliminary legal services and representation in the courts”.

The Minister assured that his vision is to see a justice system that works for all, irrespective of status.

“To this end, I urge you all to unite in creating a criminal justice system that fears or respects no one except the rule of law.

“We must uphold the minimum standards that accords respect to suspects throughout the administration of criminal justice” he added. (NAN)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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