Femi Falana Avows Partnership, Inter-Agency Collaboration Key to Justice Sector Reform In Nigeria


ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Justice Report) – A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has identified partnership, inter-agency collaboration and adequate funding as the key to effective and efficient administration of the criminal justice system in Nigeria.

He made this assertion at the second day of the National Workshop on the Implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in Abuja on November 21, 2018. Falana said that Section 29(1) and Section 29(2) which requires the Inspector-General of Police to remit quarterly to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorney-General of the State a record of arrest made with or without warrant in relation to Federal Offences within Nigeria and State Offences must be done electronically and manually for proper record purposes.

Femi Falana sighted Section 34 of the Act which requires a Chief Magistrate or a Magistrate designated by the Chief Judge of the State to conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction, other than the prison.

“We are here to have judges appointed to other detention centres like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), State Security Services (SSS), but some Nigerians are languishing in the SSS custody,” he posited.

Falana pointed out that the Government should provide the enabling environment, funding and respect for the rule of law, in order to make the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) work. He continued that it is very difficult for Nigeria’s security agencies to compete with their counterparts all over the world with analogue system of investigation, rather than the modern ways. Adding, there is need for video recording systems, electronic and data / manual – based recording of judicial activities for better justice reform systems in the country.

The human rights activist urged the Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF) to ensure full implementation of the Act, thereby making sure that there is budgetary allocation for the ACJA Committee.

Mary Odili (Justice), who represented the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen in his goodwill message espoused the need for cooperation, indicating that the judiciary cannot function alone, likewise the police. He further mentioned that the judicial agencies must work as partners and not compete, just as the police has its role and it must therefore synergize and partnership remain the way forward, no other way.

The Inspector – General of Police, Idris Mohammed represented by the Commissioner of Police in Delta State, Muhammed Mustapha in his goodwill message noted that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act has come to stay in Nigeria and everyone has to accept it, assuring adequate dedication, training of officers and exposing them to the ACJA. Mustapha frowned at the rate in which the police has suffered negligence in the country over the years, unlike their counterparts. He also hinted on the issue of inadequate manpower, lack of ammunitions, poor salary and lack of adequate personnel. He expressed gratitude to HAGF’s support towards the Police which has enhanced effective service delivery.

In his vote of thanks, the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata thanked the critical stakeholders and participants for their fruitful contributions to the success of the workshop.