By Itohan Abara-Laserian
The Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee (FJSRCC) has called for an in-depth synergy among judicial stakeholders to optimally achieve its mandate.
The stakeholders made the proposal on Wednesday during the three-day retreat for the “Development of the FJSRCC Justice Sector Reform Action Plan 2024-2028″ in Lagos.
The event was organised by the FJDRCC, in collaboration with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
The Director-General, Legal Aid Council, Mr Aliyu Bagudu, advocated for a realistic and result-oriented solution to the unending problems of awaiting trial inmates as well as care for inmates in the correctional facilities across the country.
“The recent information from the Nigeria Correctional Service of over 80,000 inmates with over 50,000 of them awaiting trial in the various facilities across the country, is worrisome.
“There is the need to urgently deal with the issue of access to justice and for these prisoners to be catered for in accordance with the international best practices.
“There should be some insightful and robust discussions on increased budgetary provisions to promote access to justice and better service delivery for the various institutions in the justice sector.’’
Bagudu added that the access to justice fund, as provided in the constitution, should be made operational.
Prof. Muhammed Tabiu, the Co-Chair of FJSRCC, noted that one of the objectives of the retreat was to develop a strategic plan for 2024-2027 which is aligned to the priorities of the Federal Government.
Tabiu added that the plan contained deliverables of the Federal Ministry of Justice within the FJSRCC’s mandate.
“Our role is to lead the reform of the justice sector in Nigeria through a coordinated cross sector approach, with the aim of improving access to justice and providing speedy, fair and equitable justice services for all, especially the disadvantaged.
“It is also to coordinate the development and implementation of policies and reforms which improve the delivery of justice services and achieve higher operational standards.
“The aim is also to maintain synergy between justice sector institutions and their activities and provide a forum for resolving cross-institutional problems and challenges,” Tabiu said.
He urged members to see how they could enlighten their various organisations to work together in moving Nigeria forward.
The Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reform in the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Fernandez Obiene, emphasised the need for the relevant institutions to resolve policy and operational lapses.
Obiene said this would ensure that the justice sector played its crucial role in the economic and political development of the country.
The Director, Planning and Research, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Victoria Ojogbane, stressed the need for institutions under the Justice Ministry to synergise to achieve the mandate as contained in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s eight focal areas of governance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) repots that the event was attended by representatives from relevant institutions such as the Police, Correctional Service, Anti-corruption agencies and civil society groups. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman