CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working to promote public safety, security and justice, on October 18 and 19, 2017 organised a workshop to train representatives of Civil Society Organisations and the media on the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
The ACJA is an Act of the National Assembly that promotes efficient management of criminal justice institutions and speedy dispensation of justice in federal courts. The Act harmonizes all the processes that take place regarding the procedural issues of criminal justice in Nigeria.
Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria is said to rest squarely on the Police, Judiciary and the Prisons. Jigawa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Ondo, Oyo, Kaduna, Delta, Lagos, Anambra, Ekiti, Enugu and Akwa Ibom among other States of the Federation have passed their own versions of Administration of criminal Justice Laws (ACJL).
One of the facilitators at the event, Chino Obiagwu noted that the ACJA has brought about several innovations to smoothen the criminal justice system, he said three of the innovations are very interesting and exciting to him and they are the sections about Video recording of confessional statement of a suspect, remand proceedings and non- custodial sentencing.
A session of the training was devoted to strategies for effective communication and reporting on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Mr. Musikilu Mojeed, chief editor at Premium Times newspaper took participants through the best way to get the best of newsroom coverage. He encouraged CSOs to convince the media that their work is beneficial to the society, visit influential media houses around them to introduce their key programmes, seek partnership with the media and build sustained contact and friendship with them.
The meeting closed with a presentation of a preliminary report on public perception on criminal justice in Nigeria, carried out by CLEEN Foundation in conjunction with Practical Sampling International (PSI).
The purpose of the survey was to assess the ACJA effectiveness and strengthen its implementation and to provide reliable and credible data and information for the public on the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.
The survey consisted of 5,099 respondents drawn from five states and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, treated as a State in North Central for the survey. The survey was conducted in Adamawa, Cross River, Imo, Kaduna and Lagos States and Abuja. The sample consisted of two sub-samples: respondents drawn from the public and special professional group comprising police, lawyers, judicial staff etc.
The survey captured the respondents’ view on whether ACJA will improve criminal justice administration and most of the respondents (93.1%) across the states said the law will improve criminal justice administration system in Nigeria. Respondents were also very optimistic that the administration of criminal justice in the country will be improved by the implementation of ACJA.