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‘We will collaborate with EDOCSO in implementation of criminal justice law’ – NGO

Joe Ebi, Benin City

A non-governmental organisation known as CLEEN Foundation, Thursday, said it would collaborate with necessary stakeholders in the full implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, in Edo State just as it has been domesticated in many states of the Federation.

The Foundation, to this effect partnered with Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDOCSO), in convening a state working group with a view to implementing the ACJA Law towards a concerted effort to reducing corruption in the state and Nigeria at large.

Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo, said objectives of convening the working group was to obtain a status update on the ACJA implementation in the state, adding it’s also to provide an immediate opportunity for CLEEN and EDOCSO to gain traction on advocacy and establish a multi-stakeholder working group in the state.

The Executive Director who was represented by Oluwole Ojewale, Assistant Project Director of the Foundation, noted that the criminal justice process of the ACJA seeks to improve unlawful arrests, notification of cause of arrest, inhuman treatment of an arrested person, prohibition of arrest on civil cases, mandatory inventory of property, among others.

He stressed further that the working group membership would include justice sector, public institutions focused on anti-corruption as well as civil society organisations working on justice sector issues.

“Working group membership would include justice sector, public institutions focused on anti-corruption as well as civil society organizations working on justice sector issues.

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“CLEEN and EDOCSO will lead the campaigns through strategic decision making, while working with the group to undertake the periodic implementation of our action plan, advocacy strategy and campaigns in the next twelve months.

“We are persuaded that this convening will lay the foundation for more interactions and collaborative relationship amongst stakeholders to advocate for the implementation of ACJ Law and engender an effective implementation of the Criminal Justice Reform process and ultimately improve the Administration of Criminal Justice and the fight against corruption in Edo State”, he noted.

The Executive Director lamented that despite the passage of the Act, there still remain a gamut of constraints and challenges affecting the criminal justice system, its actors and agencies, saying this has put at risk the full and effective implementation of the ACJA 2015 in most states where the Act has been domesticated.

Accroding to him, among the missing link in the implementation is also limited knowledge of efforts being undertaken and put in place to closely monitor the Criminal Justice reform process, its actors/agencies and the fulfillment of their roles under the Act.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting, a legal practitioner, Barrister Dele Igbinedion decried the level at which law enforcement agencies violating the Criminal Justice Law, saying the law required a suspect not to make any statement without a counsel adding that our law enforcement agencies do not adhere to it.

He noted that Nigeria security agencies and Nigeria at large need to move from the pre-ACJL era to a more robust and law abiding country.

Barrister Igbinedion recommended that a seminar should be organised for the general public, saying this will go a long way in enlightening the general public and making them to know their fundamental rights.

Major stakeholders in the law and security sectors proffer solution to the full implementation of the Criminal Justice Law.

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