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CLASFON Urges Effective Implementation of Criminal Justice Law




The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) Enugu State Chapter has appealed to the Enugu State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Kingsley Udeh, to ensure effective implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).

The appeal is contained in a statement jointly signed by the former Chairman of the group, Mr. Chukwuene Osy-Gabriel, Esq, and his Secretary, Mr. Fabian Nnamani, Esq.

The statement observed that proper administration of the criminal justice law would help in ensuring quick and timely dispensation of justice in the state.

The group noted that the prolonged criminal trials and holding charge have resulted in a dire state of prison congestion in the correctional centres.

According to the statement, the predicament arises from the untimely submission of case files by police investigation officers, delayed filings by legal officers, and a shortfall in judicial resources.

CLASFON noted that the backlog of cases in the state has accumulated over time, leading to the protracted detention of suspects without their day in court.

”It is obvious the Enugu State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2017 (ACJL), has made copious provisions in the subject matter of discourse, but the implementation has been hamstrung by numerous challenges.

The ACJL, for instance, provides for non-custodial sentencing in simple offences. Section 35 provides for monthly visitation of police station by the Chief Magistrate and many others which has been scarcely implemented.

The challenges currently faced, including protracted trials, the absence of police witness, and the resultant prison congestion, necessitate expedition and comprehensive action, the group noted.

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The body suggested some solutions to the problem which include case prioritisation and management; witness management and accountability; training and capacity development, alternative dispute resolution; expansion of the judiciary infrastructure; expedited court session; scheduled case review session, among others.

“The implementation of these measures hold the promise of significantly mitigating the prevailing challenges within our criminal justice system.

By expediting trials, ensuring witness availability, and alleviating prison overcrowding, we can uphold the fundamental principles of justice while also reliving the stain on our prison infrastructure”, CLASFON added.

Responding, the Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Kingsley Tochukwu Udeh, assured the lawyers’ body of his readiness to work very closely with them. He reassured them that His Excellency, Governor Peter Mbah, is committed to optimizing justice delivery and upholding the laws of Enugu State.

Similarly, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice has prioritized the implementation of the ACJL, being the major law in administrating an efficient criminal justice system in Enugu State. He noted that active steps were already being taken towards implementing some of the solutions recommended by CLASFON and that the administration of Governor Peter Mbah is committed to achieving results in that regard.

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