19th November, 2015
Passage of Criminal Justice Bill into Law in Ondo: ANEEJ calls on other states to follow suit.
Benin City, Edo State…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ notes with delight that the Ondo State government has passed the Criminal Justice Bill into law. Reports in the press indicate that before the passage of the bill, it passed through a painstaking democratic process via a submission of a report to the House Committee on Judiciary, anti-corruption and public petition. This is a wholesome development for which the Ondo State government stands recognized as an example for other states to emulate.
But ANEEJ notes with a measure of worry that since the signing into law of the Criminal Justice Act by the Federal Government in 2015 only the FCT, Lagos and Ondo States have since taken serious steps to domesticate it in their states. The consequence of not domesticating this Act is in the sundry cases of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings by the police and army in the land.
“Part of the challenge of dispensing and applying the tenets of that law is in making it relevant to the Nigerian people. It is one thing to pass a bill into law, and it is another thing to make it known to the people and help them to understand how it works. We are therefore using this opportunity to call on the Edo State government, and indeed all other governors in Nigeria, to domesticate the administration of criminal Justice Act 2015 so as to improve on the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria’, ANEEJ executive director, Rev. David Ugolor has said.
“The act regulates more than just criminal procedure. It covers, in most part, the entire criminal justice process from arrest, investigation, trial, custodial matters, and sentencing guideline. All the provisions of the Act are geared towards ensuring that the system of administration of criminal justice in Nigeria promotes effective management of all criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice, and protection of the rights and interests of the suspect and the victims of a crime.”
ANEEJ calls on the Edo State government to follow the example of the Federal Government, Lagos and Ondo States and initiate an urgent bill to reform the Edo State Criminal Justice law in order to address all the ancient Bendel State laws in Edo State. ANEEJ is certain if the Criminal Justice Act becomes domesticated in Edo State and other states in the country, incidences of torture and ill-treatment of Nigerians, lapses in the Justice System, Communal Violence and Zero-Housing Rights conditions cited by Amnesty International as prevalent in Nigeria would be maximally reduced.
ABOUT ANEEJ: To contribute to the emergence of a just and equitable African society through socio-economic and environmental rights protection, institutional strengthening and people’s empowerment.
For more information please contact:
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ
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