By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has called on the Gombe State government to Domesticate the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The Association made the call during the State Legislative Advocacy and Sensitization Workshop on Promotion and Domestication of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (“ACJA”), 2015 organize by the NBA with support from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
While addressing participants, the Project Coordinator of the NBA- MacArthur Project, Victor Abasiakan-Ekim, Esq. gave an overview of the extant criminal justice system in the State, and unveiled the objective of the workshop which according to him, is to sensitize stakeholders in the criminal justice system in Kebbi State and the importance of having an administration of criminal justice law of the State that conforms to modern reality.
Earlier, Mr. Ekim, who also represented participant at the event welcomed members of the bar, stakeholders, speakers and invited guests and expressed optimism that the workshop will achieve the desired objective.
In her goodwill message, the acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Beatrice Iliya in her goodwill Message stated that the workshop couldn’t have come at a better time, assuring that he will muster the needed support and assistance towards ensuring that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act is domesticated in the State.
The former Attorney General of Gombe state, Zubairu M. Umar, who was the Keynote Speaker gave an ”Overview of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015” with specific emphasis on some innovative provisions of the Act, such as: Section six of the Act which mandates an arresting officer to promptly inform the person being arrested of their right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of their choice.
He also spoke about Section seven of the Act which outlaws the practice of arresting any person or persons in lieu of the suspect only by reason of their consanguinity, affinity or association with the suspect.
He also spoke about Section eight of the Act which makes provision for the humane treatment of any person arrested, bearing in mind the person’s right to dignity.
‘’Section 8(2) which expressly provides that no person should be arrested in respect of civil matters or breaches.
Section 15 provides that when a person is arrested with or without a warrant and taken to the station or office of the arresting officer, particulars of the person arrested shall be recorded within reasonable time or not later than 48 hours’’, he said.
He pointed out some salient sections of the Act which, in his opinion, are flawed and need to be expunged or amended.
According to the learned him, the landmark innovations of the ACJA notwithstanding, certain provisions thereof need to be amended so as to bring the Act in touch with societal realities. Some of the sections identified in this regard are: