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Stakeholders Demand Special Intervention for Criminal Justice System

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC), statutory members and criminal justice stakeholders have appealed to the federal government to create a special intervention fund for the criminal justice sector in the country.

This is contained in a communique issued by ACJMC and Criminal Justice Stakeholders on Friday on Emergency Steps for the Reform of the Criminal Justice Sector in Nigeria.

It was signed by ACJMC Secretary, Mr Sulayman Dawodu, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the setting up of a special intervention fund to cater for all the institutions in the criminal justice sector in Nigeria.

He also recommended that the fund should be contributed by both the federal and state governments, as well as private individuals, corporate entities and international partners and donors.

“There is a need for a legal framework to implement and manage the fund by means of an Executive Bill by the Attorney-General of the Federation to the National Assembly.

“The funds to be contributed would include both fiscal and or specific infrastructural procurement.

“These funds would help to address the challenges in the criminal justice system which has led to a partial collapse of law and order in the country fueled by the recent protests which confronted the nation,’’ he said.

The secretary said that the ACJMC and other stakeholders in the sector saw the recent nationwide #EndSARS’ protest as a wake-up call for urgent intervention in the criminal justice system.

Mr Dawodu said that a reform and a special intervention fund could not be overemphasised for the restoration of the public confidence in the administration of criminal justice.

He also pleaded for the decongestion of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention facilities nationwide and other police detention facilities.

Mr Dawodu further added that the government needed to de-clog dockets of Directors of Public Prosecution to ensure matters considered non-prosecutable for any reason be reviewed constantly by a standing committee and removed from the criminal justice system.

“The de-clogging exercise should extend to the terrorism cases identified by the Complex Cases Group (CCG) at DPP`s office to be carried out urgently.

“The media should also be enhanced and granted access especially on coverage of the criminal justice administration in the country.

“Also major institution needs to be strengthened on the criminal justice oversight; institutions such as the (ACJMC), the National Human Rights Commission and others,” he said.

He said that if the federal government swung into action in the reforming of the entire system, any form of danger looming ahead would be averted.

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