Stakeholders Task Senate On Passage Of Criminal Justice Administration Bill


SAN FRANCISCO, April 10, (THEWILL) - The Senate has been called upon to fast-track the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Bill, which seeks to reduce the delay in the criminal justice system, reduce prison congestion, and hells victims of crimes, before the end of the current legislative session.

Making the call on Thursday were stakeholders in the justice sector who spoke at an interactive session with the media in Abuja on the Administration of Criminal Justice in the country.

Mrs Ugonna Ezekwem of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) said the Bill, if passed into law, would enhance the status of Nigeria in the comity of nations , promising that the UNODC would continue to support Nigeria to promote the rule of law.

Representative of the Justice for All, a project of the British's Department for Foreign and International Development (DFID), Mr.

Godwin Odoh, said the Bill if passed into law would restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Odoh faulted the current situation where Nigerians had been resorting to traditional methods to settle criminal matters because they had lost confidence in the criminal justice system.

In his contribution, the Chairman, House of Committee on Judiciary, Mr.

Ali Ahmad, believes that the Bill would remove the obsolete aspects of the Nigerian criminal justice system and replace them with innovative and modern provisions capable of promoting speedy delivery of criminal justice.

He disclosed that the House of Representatives had passed the Bill but the Senate was yet to concur, saying "The Senate has indicated its commitment to the quick passage of the Bill.

" In the same vein, a member of the House Committee on Judiciary, Dr.

Stella Odogwu, said the law would revolutionalise the criminal justice system in the country when it becomes operational.

Maintaining that the law would take care of convicted pregnant women and also establish a registry of convicts, she said the law also tackles the problem of prison congestion by imposing community service for certain offences instead of sending everyone to prison.

For the Coordinator of the Technical Working Group on the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill , Professor.

Akinseye George (SAN), the Bill would promote speedy dispensation of justice, protect the society from crime and protect the rights and the interest of suspects and victims of crimes.