Akwa Ibom Human Rights Community has called for the establishment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), saying it would help decongest the correctional centres in the state holding over 3,000 inmates.
The group said for failing to domesticate the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) passed in 2015 by the National Assembly, Akwa Ibom State has lost six years in real time, and over 25 years in virtual time in justice administration in the state.
In a communique issued by the group yesterday in Uyo and signed by the national coordinator and secretary, Clifford Thomas and Enobong Ekot, respectively, it said thousands of persons have been denied their freedom by the failure of the state to domesticate the law.
The group stated that the ACJL would help to facilitate the delivery of criminal justice in the state, and called on Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to ensure the ACJL becomes law.
“Since 2015 when the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) was passed by the National Assembly, it was incumbent for the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to pass the state version, so that there would be speedy justice delivery in the justice delivery system in the state.
“The state has lost six years in real time, and over 25 years in virtual time reality in justice administration in the state.
“Several persons in their thousands are presently denied their freedom of movement and other fundamental freedoms they should enjoy under chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
“About 3,000 inmates are in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service in their four holding centres in Akwa Ibom State.
“The passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, and the passage of same into Law by the Executive Governor of the State, will help the criminal justice delivery system in the State,” the communique reads.
The group further advocated the establishment of a Court of Appeal in the state, saying 80 percent of matters at the Court of Appeal in Calabar, Cross River State have their origin from Akwa Ibom.
It stated that several appealable criminal matters in Akwa Ibom cannot go to the Appeal Court in Calabar, because of the huge cost involved, adding that “indigent convicts must cough out about N300,000 for the compilation of the initiating documents for the court.”