The Executive Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i has commended the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015, as the most important pieces of legislation to reform the justice sector in the last 50 years in Nigeria.
The Governor made this known in his remarks at the second day of a two day National Sensitization Workshop on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 held on Tuesday, 18th July, 2017 in Kaduna State.
El-Rufa’i who hosted and also declared the workshop open expressed gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Justice for the collaboration with the State to hold the meeting in Kaduna. He disclosed that his government has adopted and domesticated the law and about to put it into implementation.
He promised to intensify sensitization workshop to enable adequate understanding and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act adding that capacity training in the justice sector is equally important. “We welcome this model and we are likely going to call on resource persons to come back to Kaduna to help train officials from the justice sector and sensitize them on the key provisions of this very important law”, he emphasised.
The Governor explained that in September 18, 2015, the Attorneys General of the 19 northern states, constituted a committee to review the Penal code and the Criminal Procedural code. The Committee’s recommendations were adopted and members from the 19 northern states agreed to domesticate the administration of the ACJA and also undertook holistic re- writing and re-drafting of the penal code. He further explained that each state agreed to take the two pieces of the legislation and modified as deemed fit while maintaining some degree of consistency of laws across the entire 19 northern states to domesticate the law.
He gladly disclosed that his state is the first and to have taken the lead in the northern states to have passed the two penal codes by the State House of Assembly with effect in 29th May, 2017.
He said that the provisions of the ACJA has placed greater burden on all the Ministries of Justice to prosecute virtually all cases but not without some challenges. He however emphasised on the need to build the capacity of Lawyers, Police Officers and Investigators in the State to meet up with the challenges.
Speaking in his welcome address, the Co-Chair, Federal Justice Sector Reform Co-ordination Committee (FJSRCC), Professor Mohammed Tabiu, SAN, explained that the workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of justice in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government with the purpose to widen and deepen understanding of the new legislation in Nigeria which was adopted by the Federal government and partly adopted by 7 other states, with Kaduna State taking the lead.
He explained that the new law is in the process of being considered in the House of Assemblies of almost each of the state in the north and south of the country. He commended Kaduna State government for taking the lead in adopting the law as well as the support to continuous measures to develop the justice system in the state.
Prof. Tabiu, SAN, therefore urged and encouraged other states to emulate Kaduna State by the adoption of the law.
In an interview with journalists, Proffesor Tabiu, SAN, said the legislation would reform the criminal justice system, to make cases more speedily, through the courts. It will also co-ordinate between the various actors in the justice system so as to make their work more coherent. “In other words, to deliver speedy justice to our people, in a more efficient way so as to restore confidence in the criminal justice sector”, he explained.
He also said that the process of enacting the law included analysis, in-depth review of the problems that are facing the criminal justice administration. The law would also try to co-ordinate problems emanating from one institution or the other, through the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee chaired by a Chief Judge in the State or Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.
In the Committee, there would be representations from all the Criminal Justice Administration of Institutions, representations from the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Prisons Service, Federal ministry of Justice, Nigeria Bar Association and all stakeholders in the same forum to receive data and information by which they will monitor what are the problems to the justice sector reform.
Present at the workshop were Attorney Generals and Commissioners of Justice from the northern States, Stakeholders from the Justice Sector, Officials from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Commissioners of the Nigeria Police, Comptroller Generals of the Nigeria Prisons Services, Senior High Court Judges, members of the Nigeria Bar Association, among others.
Asst. Director (Information)
Fed. Min. Of Justice