Uduaghan Advocates Reform In Criminal Justice Administration

BY ANDY AKENI

DELTA State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan yesterday challenged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other stakeholders on the quick dispensation of justice and total reform of the judicial  system.

The Governor, represented by his Deputy, Professor Amos Utuama (SAN) at the second NBA conference on criminal justice held in Asaba, urged the participants to formulate practice direction that would  revamp criminal trials that will guarantee the rights of accused persons in line with our constitution.

Dr. Uduaghan who outlined some possible solutions to speedy dispensation of justice, said the state Government in its desire to enhance justice delivery is working out a law in partnership with the state legislature to adequately deal with crimes like kidnapping, terrorism, cultism and others.

While listing special courts to handle specific cases, early conclusion of investigation, working hard to secure bail for accused persons, as a way to decongest the courts and prisons, the Governor urged the NBA to share campaign with national and international agencies for the abolition of death penalty in our law books and the inclusion of plea bargaining and suspend sentences as antidote to prison congestion and quick justice delivery.

The Governor reassured the people that the government is committed to its three-point agenda with the aim of having a sustainable state that can thrive beyond oil.

Also, while declaring the conference open, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, lamented the insecurity in the country and noted that criminal justice is a vital justice delivery in any country. He charged all concerned in justice administration to adhere strictly to the rules, adding that the situation at hand requires the commitment of all to tackle.

While challenging judges and lawyers to use the courts to promote justice, Justice Musdapher enjoined them to take charge of court proceedings, maintaining that any erring staff of the judiciary will be shown the way out.

In his welcome address, the National President of NBA, Joseph Dauda (SAN), said the theme of the conference – Effective Nationwide Anti-crime and Security Coverage Through Justice System is timely following challenges faced in justice delivery in recent times.

Dauda opined that our criminal Justice system must be such that is primed to guarantee a safe society where citizens can exercise their basic freedom and ensure peace and justice for all.

The keynote address was presented by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, represented by Mallam Yusuf Alli, who said that the criminal justice is overdue for reform to meet present challenges.

Similarly, the Chairman of the conference, A.B. Mohammed (SAN) said at the end of conference solutions will be proffered to effective criminal justice in the country and thanked the government and people of Delta State for their hospitality and for hosting the conference.