Prosecutors seek autonomy from justice ministry

Nigerian criminal prosecutors have called for the separation of the office of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Ministry of Justice.

This was disclosed during the opening ceremony of the 5th National Summit on Effective Prosecution of Criminals in Nigeria at the Ministry of Justice on Thursday in Abuja.

The Executive Director of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Chino Obiagwu (SAN) said the reform will take criminal prosecutions to the 1963 Constitution, where the office of the “DPP was removed from the Ministry of Justice and can initiate and prosecute cases.”

In his speech, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) called on states to adopt the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in the states.

The AGF, who was represented by an official of the ministry, Yusuf Abdullahi, said joining the 21states with the ACJA will help collectively address policy or administrative challenges which could arise from the Act.

In his speech, human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) said the country should adopt the practice in other countries where lawyers who take cases to court without a strong case are penalised.

“In many jurisdictions around the world, lawyers and litigants are being penalised where it is evident that the time of the court and the resources of the state have been wasted through the filing of frivolous applications that are deliberately meant to delay the trial,” he said.

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