Human Rights Law Services (HURILAWS) has launched a fresh effort aimed at speeding-up the administration of criminal justice in the country.
The new campaign, the group said, became necessary owing to the poor interest of both the federal government and the National Assembly towards criminal justice reform.
Speaking at stakeholders’ interactive forum in Enugu on Monday, a senior legal officer with the group, Collins Okeke, said the organisation “is presently working in five states of Plateau, Benue, Enugu, Edo and Cross River.”
He said HURILAWS was a public interest law services organisation, chaired by Olisa Agbakoba, and was in partnership with other organisations across the country to reform and strengthen critical democratic institutions and laws.
He recalled that the federal government under the Obasanjo administration set up a National Working Group in 2004, which was charged with the responsibility “to develop a first draft of an administration of criminal justice bill aimed at reducing delays in criminal trials and generally modernising the criminal justice system in the country.”
Okeke said: “The Bill has remained quite anonymous as the federal government and the National Assembly did not consider the justice sector a priority area for reforms in spite of the advocacy work of organisations like HURILAWS and the NBA, which under the Olisa Agbakoba presidency, submitted similar bills for consideration by the National Assembly.
In an interview, Chief Mrs. A.J Offia, a private legal practitioner and facilitator of the Enugu state Justice Reform Team, said the team was involved in identifying key areas of the justice administration that needed reform.