Thursday, 17th of October, 2019
The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education) is a non-governmental organization established in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.
The convening is coming at no better time than now when the process of Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria is undergoing radical reformation with the passage and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 being domesticated by states across the Federation. It is important to note that about 26 states out of the 36 states of the Federation have domesticated the ACJ Act.
Innovations of ACJA and Criminal Justice Reform
The areas of criminal justice process the ACJA seeks to improve include; Unlawful Arrests, Notification of cause of arrest, Humane treatment of an arrested Person and prohibition of arrest on civil cases, Mandatory Inventory of Property, Recording of Arrest, Establishment of a Police Central Criminal Records Registry (CCRR), others are; Electronic recording of confessional statement, Recording of statement of suspect, Monthly report by Police to supervising magistrate, Quarterly Report of arrests to the Attorney‐General of the Federation, Returns by Comptroller‐General of Prisons, Right to Bail , Women Sureties, Prosecution, Professional Bondsperson , Remand proceedings , Time protocol for remand orders, Guideline to prevent abuses in Plea Bargain, Speedy trial, Time limit for issuance of legal advice, Witness Protection, Electronic Record of proceedings, Compensation to victims of crime, Non‐Custodial sentences, Service of Court processes by Courier Companies etc
Despite the passage of the Act, there still remain a gamut of constraints and challenges affecting the criminal justice system and its actors/agencies which put at risk the full and effective implementation of the ACJA 2015 and the different ACJ Laws being implemented in most states where the Act has been domesticated. Additionally, among the missing link is also limited knowledge of efforts being undertaken and/or put in place to closely monitor the Criminal Justice reform process, its actors/agencies and the fulfillment of their roles under the Act.
It is against this background that through the support of the Partners Global, the CLEEN Foundation and EDOCSO has convened a state working group on the implementation of ACJ Law towards a concerted effort to reduce corruption in the state and Nigeria at large. Through this convening, we will identify government institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Media and other relevant partners that would assist in advancing the effective implementation of the ACJL in Edo state.
The objectives are to obtain a status update on the ACJL implementation in the state; provide an immediate opportunity for CLEEN and EDOCSO to gain traction on our advocacy; and establish a multi-stakeholder working group in Edo state on ACJL. Working group membership would include justice sector, public institutions focused on anti-corruption as well as civil society organizations working on justice sector issues. CLEEN and EDOCSO will lead the campaigns through strategic decision making, while working with the group to undertake the periodic implementation of our action plan, advocacy strategy and campaigns in the next twelve months.
We are persuaded that this convening will lay the foundation for more interactions and collaborative relationship amongst stakeholders to advocate for the implementation of ACJ Law and engender an effective implementation of the Criminal Justice Reform process and ultimately improve the Administration of Criminal Justice and the fight against corruption in Edo State.
I will not end these remarks without thanking the Partners Global- an organization with over 25 years experience at the forefront of civil society capacity building and promotion of good governance, for their support for this project and also you- the participants who in spite of the your obvious busy schedule took out time to be here today, which shows the seriousness you attach to the subject matter of the summit.
On this note, I welcome you all and do hope we will have some meaningful interactive experiences here today.
Thank you all and may God bless Edo State and Nigeria.
Benson Olugbuo, PhD