Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) Has Attracted Increasing Criticism Over The Time – Bozimo
By Onoriode Etatsemi
The Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Delta State, Mr Isaiah Bozimo has identified reasons which subjected the Criminal Procedure law to Criticism Over the past twenty years.
Mr Bozimo made this observation while delivering his speech on the occasion of the opening Ceremony of the 2022/2023 Legal year at the Ceremonial Hall, high Court of Justice, Asaba, Delta State.
The Honourable Attorney-General said that the principal statutes governing Criminal Procedure are excessively inflexible and have not achieved their intended purpose of improving the administration of criminal Justice.
Mr Bozimo maintained that the Criminal trial process remains protracted, and awaiting-trial inmates as opposed to convicted inmates constitute approximately 80 percent of the population in the Custodial Centres across the State.
He revealed that to address the criticism and as well improve public confidence in the Criminal Justice System, the Ministry of Justice embarked on an extensive consultative process with a call for memoranda in November 2021 which culminated in a one-day stakeholder engagement in May 12,2022.
The Stake holder engagement coalesced views from the Judiciary, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Correctional Service,United Nations office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), amongst others.
“Based on the aforementioned, His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State has presented the Delta State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, 2022, to the House of Assembly for legislative action”
“The bill has a single policy goal which was aimed at maximizing efficiency and fairness in the Criminal Justice System and to provide an integrated set of reforms such that ensures trial procedures are appropriate to the nature and seriousness of the alleged Offence, allocates cases between High Court and Magistrates’ Court more effectively for remand proceedings” he Stated.
Other set goals of the 2022 Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, according to the Attorney-General, are streamlined pre-trial procedure to remove unnecessary steps, assist with case management in the Court, provide adequate incentives and sanctions on parties to fulfill their obligation to progress cases and to ensure that criminal procedure is accessible and can adapt appropriately to a changing environment.
“The Governor of Delta has equally presented the Delta State Administration of Civil Justice Bill, 2022 to the House of Assembly for legislative action”. He added.
He explained that the Administration of Civil Justice bill provides the foundation for a comprehensive overhaul of civil Justice system in Delta State .
The Honourable Attorney-General stated further that in February this year, the Delta State Sex Offenders Register was opened and incorporated into the National Database of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person ( NAPTIP) which offers a system for monitoring and tracking sex offenders following their release into the community.
He affirmed that the Ministry of Justice through its Domestic Violence Unit, secured seven conviction between March and September this year, while details of each convict has been entered into the State Register and National Database.
He added that the Delta State Taskforce on Human Trafficking has in collaboration with NAPTIP , rescued fifteen victims of Trafficking and facilitated the arrest of four suspected traffickers just as they have referred 14 victims of traffickers for rehabilitation and reintegration.