From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Aondover Kakaan, has harped on effective training for actors in the criminal justice process in order to avert deviance.
Justice Kakaan who said this at the combined training for Police, Correctional Service and Judicial Officers on Administration of Criminal Justice, Human Rights and Non-Custodial measures held in Makurdi, maintained that the training is bringing together the police investigation and prosecution segment, the lower court, particularly magistrates where the bulk of criminal cases are tried and the corrections where persons are held for a long time without trial and where human rights violations are likely to occur.
He said that the need for such training which had been on his mind for a long time increased when the Benue State House of Assembly enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Law in 2019.
“The need for this training became necessary as soon as the law became effective and like the story of the person who had recently acquired a new utility gadget, there was every need to study the manual on how the gadget works and how it is to be operated. In our case, the users of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law needed to be trained on how to apply its provisions and how it could be deployed for its best practices and improvement of the criminal justice process in Benue State beginning from investigation, prosecution, trial and sentencing.
“There were need for actors in the criminal justice process to effectively perform their functions. As we all are aware, the Nigerian society had over the years witnessed increase in criminal behaviour and deviance and this has put criminal justice actors, the institutions and the processes under a lot of constraints and some of these constraints emanate from lack of knowledge of substantial principles and legal procedures, best practices, funding and unavailable modern technology,” he said.
The chief judge also, emphasised, the rights to life, personal liberty and freedom of movement are amongst the fundamental human rights of every citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999) As Amended), noting that indeed criminal trials and the criminal justice are processes that affect or seek limitation of these rights as it explains why it was necessary for trainings to be organised regularly to provide actors with updated and recurrent information.
Earlier, the State Controller of Correctional Service, Mrs Amaka Nwabia, posited that the joint training for all justice sector actors was necessary to create the much desired synergy for a proper functioning of the criminal justice system in Nigeria.
She added that, “the Nigerian Correctional Service is a key member of the sector and the only institution responsible for the custody of all persons convicted and awaiting trial in Nigeria. The quality of its personnel impacts directly on reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates.