Minister urges re-evaluation of justice system impact on petty offences
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has stressed the need to re-evaluate and improve awareness on the impact of the justice system as it relates to petty offences.
In her goodwill message during the National Conference on ‘Nigerian Criminal Justice System and the Criminalisation of Poverty’ in Abuja, yesterday, she said the re-evaluation should include applying standards and principles of human rights in protecting the poor and promoting equality and fairness.
The conference, with the theme, ‘The Nigeria Criminal Justice System: The Criminalisation of Poverty’, was organised by Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre led by Okechukwu Nwanguma.
The minister’s words: “The government has been making efforts towards lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
though report by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) portrays something frightening, as it indicates that four in 10 Nigerians live below the poverty line.
“As Minister of Women Affairs, which is saddled with the responsibility of stimulating action to promote civic, political, social and economic participation of women and protecting the rights of children, I observed that once people are faced with economic obstacles, our law sometimes funnel them into the justice system, instead of creating a functional social protection system.”
According to her, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which was signed into law in 2015 by then President Goodluck Jonathan; the new Correctional Service Act of 2019 and the 2020 Police Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari clearly underscore the need to re-evaluate our criminal justice system.
She called for more synergy between the system and the social, educational and economic domains.
“We equally need well-thought-out poverty alleviation programmes that entail technological skills acquisition, vocational training, micro-lending interventions and solution to our power situation as a panacea to poverty,” she added.