Experts harp on police role in criminal justice administration
Legal experts have emphasised the role of the police in the successful implementation of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
They held that for the law to be successfully implemented, the police have a great role to play as expected of them by the Act.
They, therefore, maintained that the Police must acquaint themselves with the relevant provisions of the Act, as it relates to the body.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation, titled, “The role of the Nigerian Police in the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Compliance with Principles of Human Rights in Law Enforcement”, the chairman, NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Tobenna Erojikwe, said it is a thing of joy to enlighten the police on the provisions of the ACJA.
In his opening remarks, Erojikwe said the collaboration with MacArthur Foundation has been going on previously but with a focus on the enactment of the ACJA.
According to him, the efforts have been productive, as many states have enacted the administration of criminal justice law.
“It is to the credit of the NBA that we now have the police force in the process. In a civilised world, the police are held liable for any conduct that falls below standard. So, the role of the police is very significant for the administration of the criminal justice system.
“However, the amount of resources invested in the police in Nigeria, including their salaries, is poor and it will be very hypocritical for us to expect too much from them,” he pointed out, reiterating that the training was organised to examine the role of police in the implementation of the ACJA.
The Attorney General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) explained that the Nigerian police is one of the bodies empowered to ensure the administration of justice and so, must ensure that the rights of suspects are respected.
Onigbanjo emphasised that the police have a duty to ensure that the fundamental rights of citizens are respected and protected.
He added that Lagos State works closely with the police command to ensure the protection of the right of suspects in compliance with the provisions of the law and the Constitution, such as prohibiting arrest for civil/ contractual matters, parade of suspects, recording of suspects confessional statements, plea bargain, visiting detention facilities my magistrates, etc.
Represented by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martin, the AG noted that the police are the first contact in the administration of Justice.
“So, it is imperative to interact with them in this workshop. I do hope that the officers will learn a lot from it and pass the knowledge acquired about the provisions of the law to their subordinates in various divisions, commands and stations,” he enthused.
Former Deputy Director, Legal and Investigation, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Saka Azimazi, who handled the first session, discussed “the need for the Nigeria Police to comply with the Principles of Human Right and Respect for the Rule of Law in fulfilling their law enforcement mandate.”
Executive Director, Legal Defence Assistance Project (LEDAP) Mrs. Pamela Okoroigwe moderated the event sessions.