Administration of Criminal Justice Act: NBA calls for implementation

Paul Usoro

Paul Usoro (SAN) President, Nigeria Bar Association

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)

Mr Paul Usoro, National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has called for the full implementation and domestication of the administration of Criminal Justice Act in the country.

Usoro made the call at a workshop organised by Legislative Advocacy and Sensitization for implementation partners in Minna.

The workshop was also attended by the olice, military, prisons personnel, magistrates and practising lawyers.

The national president said bringing justice closer to the citizens was one of the mandates of the association by ensuring the full domestication of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) by the states.

He said only eight states and Abuja had keyed into the system.

Represented by the North Central Vice President, Titi Egbey, Usoro assured that the association would give its maximum support to ensure its adoption to logical conclusion.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Niger State NBA branch, Gimba Mohammed, said that a draft bill was in the process of being transmitted to the state assembly to ensure the domestication of the ACJA Act.

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He applauded the 2015 assent to the Act as accepted by stakeholders with optimism, adding that the Act was beautifully drafted even though with its own hitches.

Mohammed, however, charged the acting State Chief Judge, Justice Ahmed Bima, to urgently review the recent increase in fees payable by the litigants and lawyers in the courts in Niger.

He said the astronomical increase was already affecting litigants and lawyers in the state, noting that justice delivery was a social service that ought not to come with such a heavy cost because of its tendency to limit access to justice.

The Project Coordinator and presenter, NBA MacArthur Foundation Project, Victor Abasiakan-Ekim, expressed that ACJA in Nigeria was facing several challenges including lack of data/statistics, suspects stigmatisation and lack of empathy.

He explained that the activities of the association in the state would include sensitisation workshop, capacity development and continuing legal education as well as regional meetings (regulatory review) to determine the achievement of the objectives.

He said that the three years project of Criminal Justice Project was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation with the aim of strengthening the Nigeria criminal justice system and promoting widespread of criminal justice reform across the country.