- Decentralisation of custodial centres |
BY BODE GBADEBO, Abuja |
The leadership of the National Assembly has called for the strengthening of the nation’s justice system against the backdrop of rising insecurity in the country.
The National Assembly leadership made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a one-day roundtable jointly organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA).
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, was represented by Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Lagos West) at the occasion, which held at the National Assembly complex.
Lawan said: “No society grows without a productive criminal justice system, considering the additional role the sector plays in maintaining order and in fostering peace.
“With rising insecurity, we must be ready to strengthen the justice system and be bold enough to ensure that criminals go through diligent prosecution.
“This is to serve as a deterrence to others, reduce wrongdoings, promote peace and enhance growth and development.”
Also speaking, Speaker House of the Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, while calling for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force, advocated the movement of the Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution to the concurrent list.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the chairman, House Committee on Justice, Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo, said: “The scope of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System beginning with the Police, the Courts, the Correctional Service, our criminal laws and codes, including human personnel that manage our criminal justice institutions need reforms.
“As legislators, we will not be opposed to amending the Constitution to remove the establishment and management of Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.
“This, I believe, will fast-track and decongest our Federal Correctional Centres and enable willing states provide better correctional service centres with better living conditions for their people.”
On the clamour for autonomy for State Judiciary, Gbajabiamila said: “The autonomy being advocated by our judicial officers across the nation should be granted without delay, to encourage justice without favour.
“We should consider the creation of special criminal courts.”
For his part, the director-general of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, called for the separation of the Ministry of Justice from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Suleiman said this would allow for easy prosecution of corruption cases and restore public confidence in the administration of criminal justice.