By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: The federal government’s refusal to fund the activities of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee has continued to hamper the effective implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
This submission was made by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla at a Stakeholders Summit on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria organized by the CLEEN Foundation.
Recall that the Monitoring Committee was set up amongst other things to ensure the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the country.
Obono-Obla lamented that the Committee have so far failed to carry out its constitutional mandate due to zero funding from government.
“We have not done any of our constitutional mandate because of zero funding. We are not covered in the budget for this year not even in that of last year”.
He berated the Judges for playing into the antics of senior counsels, calling for a change in mindset and attitude of judges.
He said “when it comes to the turn of poor offenders, the Act is applied to the later. But when it comes to high profile offenders then some of our judges become less firm. They just pander to the antics of Senior counsels. That is why we still have a lot of cases against high profile offenders stalled in our courts despite the provisions of this Act”.
He said “if our judges continue in their present approach, I don’t think we are going to make any headway. Everybody involved in the criminal Justice system must work together to ensure that the Act is efficiently applied”.
Also speaking at the summit, the Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Benson Olugbuo said the summit was put together to present to stakeholders the key findings from the first round of public perception survey on Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria in order to stir up a synergy among them to develop advocacy strategies.
He further stated that the data from the survey will be used to over time assess the Administration of Criminal Justice Act implementation, equip civil society and the general public with credible information with which to provide evidence based feedback to influence policy implementation as well as carry out informed public advocacy and engagement with relevant criminal justice actors/agencies.