PRAWA, Switzerland move to enhance Nigeria’s justice, security sector reforms 

Naira Marley in court

The Prison Rehabilitation And Welfare Action (PRAWA) and government of Switzerland have pledged their commitment to enhance ongoing reforms in Nigeria’s justice and security sector institutions through the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) mechanism.

This was the highlights of the workshop on ‘Enhancing Synergy Amongst Justice Sector Oversight Mechanism’ organised by the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) in collaboration with PRAWA in Abuja at the weekend.

Speaking, the Executive Director PRAWA, Dr. Uju Agomoh, called on the relevant institutions to strengthen cooperation and collaboration in order to accelerate the actualisation of the implementation of ACJA in Nigeria.
Agomoh said that there are alot of mechanism platforms whose mandates include monitoring and oversight but the focus is how to ensure these are coordinated to avoid duplication and wasting of resources.

She called on the participating agencies including the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Lega Aid Council of Nigeria (LACoN), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), NDLEA, EFCC, ICPC and NAPTIP amongst others to share experiences and coordinate their actions.

She urged “each participating agencies to share their experiences and mandates to know how it can help one another and synergise”.

Agomoh also expressed hope of “being able to develop in very practical terms what we can do and initiate to take collective ownership of” a coordinated reform processes.

In the same vein, the Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland to Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Libya and ECOWAS, Mr. George Steiner, said his government is interested in reversing the prevailing situation of “poor and untimely Justice delivery as well as weak cooperation among relevant institutions.

“I find it troubling and want to see that there is need for action to be taken in this regard.”
Steiner however, commended PRAWA and ACJMC’s efforts to tackle the challenges and close the gaps that exists within and amongst the security and justice sector oversight agencies.
“Government of Switzerland is committed at improving the Nigerian Justice Sector reforms,” she assured.
Also speaking, the Secretary of ACJMC, Mr. Sulayman Dawodu, noted that the achievements of ACJA is hampered by the fact that District Police Officers have to still wait for signals and clearance from the Commissioners of Police before they could carry out on what is already stipulated in the law.

According to Dawodu, “this is a large hindrance towards the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”
He also noted a challenge with the long detention of people arrested under the the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit in violation of the ACJA provisions.
On his own, the National Programme Manager, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (RoLAC), Mr. Danladi Plang, said its important that the ACJMC ensures that the judicial officers and relevant agencies carry out their mandates as stipulated in the ACJ Act.

Plang however, noted that to achieve this “it is critical to ensure that the heads of agencies in the security and Justice sector are actively involved and play their part.”

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