Administration of criminal justice law, critical, Sanwo-Olu declares
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, has described the administration of criminal justice law as a critical part of Nigeria’s body of laws, which has undergone reforms at various levels with the overriding objective of facilitating fair and speedy dispensation of justice.
The governor said Lagos State has been at the forefront in such reforms, adding that it is a key factor in the progress the State has achieved in its justice system.
Sanwo-olu, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin during the triple celebration of Rotimi Jacobs conferment as CON, his 10th year anniversary at the inner Bar and launch of his book titled: “Rotimi Jacobs on Criminal Procedure’’, explained that law or the justice system cannot be static.
“It keeps evolving and we must keep our system up to date with best global practices and standards.
“We must all commit ourselves to upholding the tenets of the law. The bar and the bench have significant roles to play and must work together to ensure that the law achieves the desired objectives,” the governor, who was invited to chair the event stated.
“I recommend this book to all with the assurance that it will assist in deepening our understanding of the administration of criminal justice law in the country.
“I also commend him for creating time to author the book and availing people the benefits of his rich knowledge and experience on a very fundamental aspect of our legal jurisprudence,” he said and congratulated the celebrant for clocking 60.
Also, former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), who eulogised the celebrant for his industry, which birthed the triple honour, said by writing the book on criminal procedure, he has immortalised his opposition to corruption.
His words: “Rotimi, your contribution to the prosecution of corruption has been so significant that I consider the celebration of your life an appropriate occasion for commenting on our fight against corruption.
“Let me start by saying that the laws against corruption are not new. They have always been there. They are as old as the nation itself. However good they are, they are not self-enforcing.
“They require good men and women to enforce them. As important and as vital as the institutions that the nation has established to combat corruption and crime are, they are limited. They are founded on the premise that crime will be limited.
“If crime becomes unlimited, these institutions cannot cope. And that is what has happened. With the advent of civil rule, the pendulum swung from one extreme of dictatorship to the extreme of liberalism.”
According to him, Nigerian leaders have a total misconception of democracy as the right to do as they please without regard for the rights of others.
Corruption, he noted, has permeated every department of the nation, such that the police, the judiciary, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) cannot cope.
“Therefore, we must re-examine our approach to the fight against corruption. I was the AGF and Minister of Justice at the time of the passage of the ICPC Act.”
I recommended to the president a certain experiment by students of ethics whereby they tried to kill two frogs by having them boiled.
“They put the first frog in water, heated the water quickly, and the frog jumped out and escaped. They put the second frog in water, and heat the water gently so that the temperature changes imperceptibly.
“The frog remained in the water, the water reached boiling point and the frog died. In our battle against corruption, we resolved to heat the water quickly. We all know what the outcome of that approach has been,” he stated, adding that the nation is more corrupt today than ever before.
Agabi maintained that there is no hope of solving the problem of corruption as long as the education offered to young Nigerians does not equip them for life and the government is founded on continuous patronage.
According to him, as long as the nation is not self-reliant, people are appointed into high offices for which they are not qualified, and the boundaries of the states are rigid, there will be no national growth and development.
The book reviewer, Dr. Akeem Olajide Bello, an Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, who noted that there have been other books on the same subject matter, said what made the effort by Mr. Jacobs unique and necessary is the depth of the analysis he offered on each provision of the ACJA.
He stated that the analysis of each provision covered the scope of its application and the changes, if any, between the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
In addition, he said the author did a thorough examination of all issues raised by the provisions with the aid of Nigerian judicial authorities, relevant authorities from India, America, and England.
“The author also robustly and thoroughly explained and analysed relevant Nigerian legislations that impact some of the provisions of ACJA. It is my submission that this book fills a significant knowledge gap in criminal justice jurisprudence in Nigeria,” he declared.
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