The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) has said that the state plans to introduce a Victims’ Rights Law to protect victims’ of crime.
Onigbanjo, who made the revelation at a media conference held in his office, stated that the Victims’ Rights Law was to protect victims and witnesses of crimes from intimidation, harm and harassment.
He said, “We have in the pipeline our first Victims Rights Law. We have noticed that in Nigeria, victims of crimes are not protected, the law does not give them any cover.
“The law will spell out the rights that victims of crimes are entitled to and the protection that the state will give them so that in the near future in Lagos State, intimidation of witnesses will become a crime.
“Under the proposed law, the state will commence payment of compensation to victims of crime but the defendant will bear most part of the payment of such compensation under restorative justice system,” he said.
The Attorney General further maintained that the current administration is no longer waiting for victims to report to authorities on issues bordering on human rights.
Onigbanjo said the trend in Lagos now is to go after violators in other to see that justice done.
“As a cosmopolitan city, we recognize the need to ensure that law and orderliness are kept.
“It is this administration’s agenda to clamp down on criminals, land grabbers and other trouble makers to reduce crime and all forms of security threat to the barest minimum.
“This administration has zero tolerance for criminals and we would also ensure that the poor and downtrodden in the society have access to justice through our agencies”, he said.
In line with the resolve of the state government, Onigbanjo said his ministry intervened in a case of encroachment on land of an elderly couple at Ejigbo whose video went viral on social media.
Onigbanjo disclosed that 35 land grabbing cases are presently being prosecuted in courts and that they are hopeful that justice would be served without hindrance to serve as deterrent to other land grabbers.
He said: “the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) handled 1,636 cases, 600 petitions out of which 245 were concluded.
The Attorney General also disclosed that 141 judgments have been obtained, over 30 children rescued and total compensation of N8,103,567.09 was received on behalf of clients by the OPD.”
He said the Directorate of Public Prosecution received 212 duplicate files for legal advice and 164 have been issued and dispatched.
The senior lawyer also stated that the remaining 48 could not be treated because of request for further investigation by the Police.
He further disclosed that in the last two weeks, 94 plea bargaining applications have been treated adding that the introduction of the system has reduced the time spent on criminal cases towards achieving prison and court de-congestion.
He said that in the coming year, a number of bills will be presented to the state house of assembly to be passed into law.
“In the coming years, particular attention will be paid to law and order and legislative reforms. We have a whole lot of laws in the pipeline.
“Laws are made to provide proper guidelines and order upon the behaviour for all citizens and sustain equity on three branches of the government,” Onigbanjo said.