At Calabar Event, NGO Lists Major Obstacle to Effective Criminal Justice Law

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Clean Foundation, has picked the police force as a major hindrance to the effective implementation of the Admission of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

During a two day workshop for officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on provisions of ACJA 2015 in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday, the resource person, Blessing Abiri, who represented the foundation’s Executive Director, Benso Olugbuo, observed that one of the main problems was low awareness of the law among key actors in the criminal justice system.

She said the training for men and officers of all the commands under Zone 6, comprising Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi and Rivers states, was to improve their technical capacity and professionalism to enable them to understand and execute their role in deference to the law.

Her words: “The rationale for us putting together this training is to improve the technical capacity and professionalism of officers and men to understand and apply for their role as provided under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. The reason being that one of the critical problems we have discovered is that the police, being the entry point into the criminal justice system, have been accused to be one of the major hindrances to the effective implementation of the criminal justice (law).

“There is a low level of awareness about the ACJA 2015 and so for us in Clean Foundation, we think it is very important that the key actors in the criminal justice system are fully abreast of their roles and responsibilities under the Act.”

She added: And for us, the police, being our primary constituency and partner, we have thought no other best place to start than to start with the police to carry out this training within the Zone 6, comprising Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, and Rivers commands.”

Earlier in his speech, the NGO’s ED, Olugbuo, pointed out that the ACJA 2015 had brought fundamental reforms to the criminal justice, adding that the piece of law was designed not only to preserve and strengthen existing legal frameworks but also to enhance the efficiency of the institutions within the criminal justice system as well as protect the rights of suspects, defendants and victims.

He added: “The legislative purpose of the ACJA, 2015 is to have a nationwide application, thus, to introduce a national criminal procedure law that will regulate the investigation and prosecution of offences throughout the federation. The Act, being an Act of the National Assembly, is only applicable to the Federal Capital Territory and federal courts and institutions, including the Nigeria Police Force.”

The AIG in charge of Zone 6 Calabar, Ahmed Zaki, represented by DCP (Administration), Omolara Oloruntola, commended the foundation for the training, stating that the training would help the officers in investigating and prosecuting criminals in a more professional manner.