Thursday, 21st September 2023

RoLAC reforms public procurement system in Lagos

By Silver Nwokoro
14 February 2023   |   3:13 am
The Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council has reformed the public procurement system in Lagos State.

Representatives from the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), EU Funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC), Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Women’s Rights and Health Project Nigeria (WRAHP), Project Alert, African Women Law Association, Lagos Bureau of Statistics (LBS), UN Women Africa and other stakeholders at the SDGBV Roundtable held in Lagos…recently

The Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council has reformed the public procurement system in Lagos State.

At the closing ceremony of its programme in the state, its National Programme Coordinator, Danladi Plang, said the programme aimed to strengthen capacity in administration of criminal justice law.

He also added that the programme has helped police officers abide by the law in criminal justice procedure.

Plang noted that part of the achievements of the group include, being able to succeed in the aspect of plea bargain.

His words: “The plea bargain is to ensure it increases the efficiency of the criminal justice system, because it allows for a reduction in the time people spend in trying cases.
“If a defendant agrees with it, a case is completed as soon as possible. One of the problems we are having in the criminal justice system is the delay in trying cases. That adds to congestion in courts and prisons. The data from the ministry of justice says by the time we came, they had dealt with only 26, as of last year, it increased to 300.

“The second thing we have done in Lagos concerning criminal justice reform is the work we have done with the police in terms of establishing the statement-taking room, which is the first of its kind in the country. It is essential to ensure that when people are being interrogated by the police, they don’t use unorthodox means like torture to get confessional statements because it is recorded on video. It is a mechanism to reduce torture and delays in the trial of cases.
“In the area of supporting access to justice for women, children, and persons with disabilities, what we have done is to increase the access points for people that have been sexually violated. We established one additional sexual assault referral centre at the Alimosho General Hospital. We have also supported civil societies to serve as oversight referral pathways.
“We also support the child protection network, because from our data, there are more children that are being harmed now. More than 700 children have been assisted in that regard.”

Plang lamented that their work on the anti-corruption component didn’t progress as much as they had wanted. There were a couple of interventions we thought we were going to implement. One was to support their reform of the public procurement system. The second was to ensure the freedom of information law passed by the Federal Government is implemented to grant more access to information for citizens and to ensure transparency in the management of government affairs. The third was to help Lagos develop an anti-corruption strategy. The work on procurement has actually progressed.

“The other two areas on FoI and anti-corruption strategy didn’t progress well. The state felt that was not the way they wanted to go. So, they focused more on the public procurement aspect. But other states progressed in that aspect. We have Adamawa, Kano and Anambra, with anti-corruption strategies. They have established units in their ministries for driving that,” Plang explained.

Also, Lagos State Attorney General, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), represented by a Director in the ministry of justice, Adetutu Oshinusi, said the State has a plan to sustain initiatives introduced by RoLAC.

“RoLAC has been very supportive of the ministry most especially in the area of criminal justice reform. And there is another programme that RoLAC have been very Impactful, that has to do with plea bargaining.
“The organisation has helped in the training of investigators, especially the police officers that are in charge of accused persons. We will still keep partnering with them even after their exit,” she said.

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