Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has signed the Edo State Criminal Justice Administration Bill into Law.
Governor Obaseki, who assented to the bill at the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital yesterday, said, “The law would strengthen the protection of the rights of citizens and ensure fair and speedy administration of justice.”
Obaseki explained, “This event is historic as it is the first time in decades that a comprehensive review and modernisation of the Criminal Law procedure would be undertaken.”
Noting that the law will address a number of bottlenecks that hitherto delayed dispensation of justice, he said, “Our focus in the justice sector is informed by the deep conviction that there would not be a modern society, particularly the type we seek to build, without respect for the rule of law.”
“The criminal justice administration law is designed to take us beyond the colonial era rules of criminal procedures and introduce innovative legal procedure, which will ensure fair hearing in the court of law with due consideration of time,” the governor said.
Obaseki added that the state government, through the Ministry of Justice, would put all the needed infrastructure in place to ensure the implementation of the Criminal Administration Law.
He commended the committee on judiciary for the effort put into the drafting of the bill, adding, “The state government will ensure that sufficient copies of the law would be made available. The law will be implemented to support the government in protecting lives and property.”
Chief Judge of the state, Justice Eseohe Ikponmwen, represented by Justice Joe Acha, said, “The Criminal Justice Administration Law will give a new face to the criminal justice system in the state as well as improve the judiciary.”
State commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, said the Criminal Administration Law would eliminate procedures that delay justice.
Chairman, Edo State chapter of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barr. Ede Asenoguan, said the state government’s domestication of the law is highly commendable, noting that, “As at last year, only six states had such a law in place, now that Edo has the law, it is work in progress.”