U.S. supports efforts to strengthen criminal justice administration in Ogun State
On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard joined Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, for the launch of an electronic court scheduling and case management system for the state judiciary.
Delivering remarks at a ceremony to launch the electronic system in Abeokuta, Ambassador Leonard noted that the U.S. government-supported initiative will shorten court delays and case backlogs and deliver justice more efficiently for the citizens of Nigeria.
“The new case management system was developed as a solution to promote efficiency in the allocation of time and resources to court cases. We have high hopes that the electronic court scheduling and case management system will help speed up the pace of criminal justice in Ogun State,” Ambassador Leonard said at the ceremony attended by senior judicial officers, state legislators, law enforcement officers, civil society representatives and members of the Nigeria Bar Association.
Ambassador Leonard highlighted the positive trajectory of law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. Mission and the Ogun State Government that includes support for the establishment of the Corrections Information Management System and the Court Attendance Endorsement Form.
The Corrections Information Management System is deployed by the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Correctional Services to record and monitor the length of time pre-trial suspects are kept in custody. Similarly, the Court Attendance Endorsement Form enables the correctional facilities and courts in Ogun State to track court attendance and case hearings for persons in custody.
“The introduction of Corrections Information Management System and the Court Attendance Endorsement Form serve the key goals to decongest prisons, provide the necessary infrastructure to speed up the pace of criminal adjudication, and to ensure the creation of data that will document any delays,” Ambassador Leonard added.
Ogun State Governor Abiodun lauded the U.S. government for the partnership that culminated in the introduction of the electronic court scheduling and case management system for the state judiciary describing it as a “trailblazing effort” in the administration of justice in the state.
Chief Judge Dipeolu urged judges, magistrates and other judicial officers in the state to embrace the new electronic system. “Digitization will aid quick dispensation of justice and make our job as judges easier with the ripple effect of attracting investors to the state,” Chief Judge Dipeolu added.
Through the support of the U.S. Mission’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the Ogun State Government initiated a collaboration with a local law firm, Olaniwun Ajayi Legal Practitioners, to develop a manual detailing this new system. Following the U.S. Mission’s initial support, Olaniwun Ajayi Legal Practitioners and Ogun State authorities expanded on the project and digitized the process into a multi-user electronic system.
INL works with partner governments to help reduce crime, promote public safety, and to ensure that people have access to a functioning justice system that is fair, transparent, and accountable.