The Yola branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has on Monday sensitized Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on some key provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) in Adamawa State.
The ACJL was singed into law in the state in 2018, necessitating the need for stakeholders to know key provisions of the new law for its successful implementation.
The law was the brainchild of northern attorney generals who saw the need to repeal the criminal procedure code which was in operation in the region since Nigeria’s independence and has since became obsolete.
The event which was supported by the European Union, British Council Rule of Law And Anti Corruption (RoLAC) was attended by no fewer than 40 CSOs.
In her presentation, a member of the Nigerian Barr Association, Kowaobo Takoni said the law is divided into two, that is the substantive and procedural laws noting that while the substantive aspect is mainly about punishment, the procedural aspect centered on procedures that should be followed towards the successful implementation of the law.
Takoni noted that the purpose of the workshop is mainly to highlight to the CSOs procedures that must be followed towards the implementation of the new law and to make them abreast of their constitutional roles to ensure the seamless success of the law.
She noted that one of the core changes which the law brought is the constitution of the ACJA monitoring committee which must have the representation of the CSOs.
Takoni noted that being critical stakeholders, CSOs need to understand the role they need to play for them to make optimal contributions hence the sensitization drive.
Some of the new innovations and provisions of the ACJL according to resource person include; humane treatment of suspect, community service, notifications of cause of arrest and rights of suspects, prohibition of arrest in lieu and the provisions which accord women the right to stand as sureties.
Also in his presentation, Mr. Elisha Daniel said, the main objective of the workshop is to bring CSOs together and to make them alive to their duties in pushing for the implementation of the critical changes that come with the law.
He noted that the CSOs are expected to develop robust advocacy plans with which they will engage the justice sector agencies such as the police, ministry of justice and correctional centers among others.
Daniel said the need for interaction and communication between the government and the CSOs made it imperative for the CSOs to be taught the rudiments and nuances of organizing successful advocacies from the planning to the implementation stage.
“I presented tips for advocacy since the CSOs will be going out for advocacy and to see they are abreast of the some of the things they need to know. I expect the CSOs to list the advocacy actions they will be implementing targeting the police, the correctional services, the NSCDC, and ministry of justice so that the critical changes can be implemented,” he said.
Speaking on the rationale behind the workshop, Adamawa State coordinator of RoLAC, Hapsat Abdullahi said the need to ensure check and balance in the administration of criminal justice sector informed the activity.
She noted that being critical stakeholders, the role of the CSOs towards the success of the ACJL cannot be overemphasized.
Abdullahi noted that the CSOs have the right to question actions of the government whenever they notice any form of derailment and urged them to always use the FOI act to resolve knotty questions as the act is applicable in the state.
Also in his welcome address, the chairman of NBA, Yola branch, Jibril Jimeta noted that the purpose of the workshop is to ensure the implementation of the key reforms in ACJL.
He charged the CSOs to take advantage of the workshop to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the law in the state.