(The NIALS Flags of its project on the implementation of the administration of criminal justice Act)
The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies with the support of the Mac Arthur Foundation has flagged off/launched its project aimed at supporting the implementation of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. The Project seeks to enhance the understanding of the Act and facilitate implementation through interalia, the development of institutionalised curriculums and guidance instruments for judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers.
The Launch which took place on the 2nd of November 2017 at the Rockview Hotel had in attendance, the key stakeholders in the implementation of the ACJA such as the Hon Chief Judge of the FCT, Hon Ishaq Bello, Mr Sylvester O. Imhanobe (Special Assistance to the President on Research and Special Projects representing the Hon. Attorney General and Minister for Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Prof. Bolaji Owasonoye, The Acting Chairman of ICPC and Secretary of PACAC, Dr Kole Shetima, Africa Director of the Mac Arthur Foundation, Adrian Strong, Criminal Justice Adviser of the British High Commission, Representatives from National Judicial Institute, Nigerian Bar Association, CLEEN Foundation, Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN), Deutsche Gesellschaftfur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Legal Resources Consortium, Juri- Trust Centre for Socio-Legal Research and Documentation(JCSLRD) etc.
The primary focus of discussions held at the launch was hinged on adopting strategies for the implementation of the ACJA. It was noted that at the state level, 13 states have adopted the ACJA but appear to lack the political will to implement it. The meeting also mapped out the states in the Six (6) geopolitical zones where trainings will be held.
It was further noted that one of the problems in the Nigerian Criminal Justice system is the delay in trial of criminal proceedings, The Chief Judge of the FCT in his speech lauded the idea behind the project and noted that the ACJA is domiciled with the Federal High Court and there is therefore need for a literature that will help/ aid its implementation.
The meeting highlighted the innovations of the ACJA to include, case management and the shortcomings to include the prohibitive cost of setting the infrastructural requirements of its effective implementation.
The outcome of the project is expected draw up best practice guidelines for Judges, Prosecutors and Defence Lawyers in criminal adjudication using the relevant provisions of the ACJA. This will revamp the justice system and make it a more effective deterrent to all who run afoul of our criminal laws whether terrorists, petty criminals or corrupt officials.