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The 3rd National Working Group Meeting On The Administration Of Criminal Justice, Act 2015.

The 3rd National Working Group Meeting On The Administration Of Criminal Justice, Act 2015.

I would begin by first
expressing my sincere pleasure, on behalf of CLEEN
Foundation to welcome you all to this distinguished “August” gathering.

At the outset, I would like
to appreciate my colleagues for their concerted efforts in ensuring the success
of this meeting and for managing to assemble an impressive blend of
Stakeholders, Policymakers, Researchers, Civil Society Organizations and
Experts in the field of justice. Undeniably, we all share a common interest for
effective justice delivery and do possess an important stake in the
implementation of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015. For
most concerned citizens, this meeting presents a good opportunity to join forces
with those who have demonstrated a passion for effective Justice delivery in
Nigeria for most of their careers. For others, it is the opportunity to learn
more about the administration of the criminal Justice system in Nigeria.  In every case, it is important for all of us
to gather together in such a friendly atmosphere to discuss the critical problems
we are faced with in the implementation of the Administration of criminal
Justice Act in Nigeria and to offer possible solutions. I am convinced that the
intellectual exchanges and experience sharing between participants in the
course of the meeting will not only beam the spot light on progresses made in
the implementation of the Act but the need to breach gaps identified.

meeting is convened under a project centered on “Promoting Accountability and
Transparency in the Administration of Criminal Justice System in Nigeria”. The
project is targeted at the digitization of court proceedings/judgments in
Nigeria with a view to promoting accountability and transparency in the fight
against corruption. The project principally seeks to monitor cases of
corruption in relation to ACJA 2015 through a web based platform- Uwazi doc
which is functional, accessible and within the reach of the public.

would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank MacArthur Foundation for
funding this project.

Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015 was enacted as an
instrument, which merged the provisions of the two previous principal
legislations, namely: Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Criminal Procedure
Code (CPC). The Act was not designed to do away with the already existing
criminal laws in its entirety, but was designed to preserve and strengthen the
existing legal framework by introducing innovative provisions that will give a
face lift to the efficiency of the justice system. The new federal legislation
has brought fundamental changes to the criminal justice system, as it provides
in section 1 of the ACJA, for an administration of criminal justice system
which promotes fast tracking of justice delivery, efficient management of
criminal justice institutions, protection of citizens as well as protection of
the rights and interest of suspects, defendants and victims.

goes without saying that in the long chain of implementers or criminal justice
actors, Lawyers make up an important and indispensable part of the complicated
business of the administration of criminal justice as almost everyone in the
process were first and foremost lawyers, whether they be Judges, Magistrates or
prosecutors. The defence counsel is also an integral part of the core. The
point in this is that, if we must have an efficient criminal justice system as
the ACJA and ACJLs attempt to entrench within our polity, the critical mass of
men/women on the chain all along the line- from top to bottom must be men who
are manifestly willing to birth the dream of the innovative ACJA and ACJLs. It is
gratifying to note that 19 States have passed their own ACJLs, some of which
are impressively innovative.

objective of the Act may never be attained unless and until all relevant
stakeholders in the criminal justice system are aligned to work collaboratively
to ensure that the Act is not just implemented but fully complied with by all
judicial actors concerned.

wish us all very fruitful and result oriented deliberations.

you for the time and God bless you all.

Benson Olugbuo. PhD

Executive Director

CLEEN Foundation.

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