In recognition of the crucial role judges and lawyers play in the criminal justice sector, the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS)
with the support of the Macarthur Foundation organised a two day training workshop for judges and lawyers from Kaduna, Kano and Jigawa States at ASAA Pyramid Hotels Kaduna from the 6th to 7th August 2018. This was to deepen understanding of the reform provisions under the ACJA, find out the steps taken by these states to domesticate the ACJ law and also ascertain the level of implementation. The workshop had in attendance the Director General of NIALS, Professor Adedeji Adekunle, SAN, Attorney General of Kaduna State represented by the Solicitor General of Kaduna State, Mr. Christopher Umar, a representative of the Macarthur Foundation, Mrs. Amina Salihu, Attorneys General of Jigawa and Kano states, Hon Justice Darius Kobo, the chairman, Justice Sector Reform Committee, Kaduna State, Judges of the State High Courts, Chairmen and members of the NBA branches of Kaduna(including the Zaria and Barnawa branches), Jigawa and Kano States, state counsels from the ministry of justice of these respective states where also in attendance.
The faculty was made up of both research fellows from the institute and other experts in Criminal Justice reform. The workshop featured robust discussions on topics ranging from Overview of the ACJ law, Arrest, Remand and Bail proceedings, Interlocutory applications, Adjournments and Timelines under the ACJA, Disclosure Protocols under the ACJA, Witness Management and Protection and Plea bargains and Non-prosecution Agreements. Also, there were syndicate sessions in which the participants were divided into three groups to brainstorm and address some of the contentious issues under the ACJ Law on bail, detention and remand, mechanisms for case management, implications of stay of proceedings as well training and capacity building for judges and lawyers.
The DG, NIALS in his opening remarks pointed out that the training was essentially geared towards deepening understanding of the reforms in the criminal justice legal framework using the ACJA, 2015 and developments from Kaduna, Kano and Jigawa States. He stated that this has been done by looking at zonal hubs and that a similar event was held for judicial officers from Kogi and Niger States in Abuja. The Primark, he noted, has been the support received from Macarthur Foundation and the need to efficiently use legal framework of the ACJA to expedite trial of corruption cases. He further explained that the combined training of judges and lawyers was borne out of the need to achieve robust discussions on the emerging trends under the ACJ Law. In carrying out the project, he stated that the first step taken was to produce a manual with slight variations for Judges and thereafter hoped that at the end of the workshop, the objectives of the training would have been achieved.
The workshop also incorporated syndicate sessions as a sequel to the papers presented to further stimulate participants and engender robust discussions. The participants were split into groups for easy management and efficient engagement.