ACJA, FIDA Collaborate To Improve Justice System

To ensure an efficient justice system, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA, and other relevant justice sector stakeholders have collaborated together.

On Thursday in Abuja, the stakeholders discuss how to expedite certain cases that threaten the country’s social and economic progress.

This took place at a one-day workshop organized by FIDA Abuja with assistance from the MacArthur Foundation on the evaluation and validation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 Practice directive.

Sulayman Dawodu, Executive Secretary, ACJA, Federal Ministry of Justice, noted that although multiple anti-corruption organizations have created policies and strategies to carry out the various directions over the years, corruption is still as prevalent as ever.

Dawodu said: “We want to strengthen collaborations between criminal justice actors in a way that it will deepen the criminal justice architecture and ensure the effective implementation of the ACJA.

“The objective is aimed at how corruption cases are being expedited within the criminal justice system and being specific, to prioritize corruption cases as the act has also provided ample provisions to deal with the expeditious files of criminal matters, although it is more on non-compliance than compliance itself, so we needed to reconsider.

“It will also help if we have a policy document that speaks directly to the anti-corruption and issues of the expeditious dispensation of criminal and corruption cases

“Somewhere along the line the court that deals with these cases needs to take on board measures that will translate into effective implementation of the criminal justice act by having specific guidelines in handling these cases to ensure compliance, we must give all it takes to ensure that this nemesis is brought to a reasonable control as it cannot be totally eradicated.”

“We need to take a bold step that will be functional and not just rolling out directions, ensure that we achieve the intended purpose of compliance and ensure that it speaks directly to the issue.

“The case management trash out all these issues to the extent of making an enquiry to the visibility of evidence, that there will be no need going into witnesses such that once a trial has commenced no objections, issues of forensics will be entertained and the judge will be in control, to know what form of defence will be put forward, that way it shows that you do not ambush the judge. As this will go a long way in showing the credibility of the cases.

“These are measures that we have looked at to work an effective system for anti-corruption cases, therefore the need to compartmentalize all the cases as thIs will aid effectiveness, no matter how this seems to restrict our level of exposure to other laws, but there will be timely rotation from one place to the next but one can insist to stay within the criminal jurisdiction.

“The other area we are also looking at is virtual court, this will assist the effective implementation of the dispensation of corruption cases, we will be looking at the separate order that covers virtual court and how we serve notification as this constitutes a big challenge as sometimes people come to court and are not aware that there will be no sitting that day, as speculation ongoing disclosed some bailiff under oath claim they serve notice but did not.

“A time to move from manual to digitalised notification to all parties involved at the same time, which is already ongoing in Nasarawa, Plateau and Kaduna, and this can make the CJ assign from anywhere, curbing delays as they are automatically notified.”