Lawan, Gbajabiamila canvass reforms of correctional centres, police


The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have outlined reforms they want in Correctional Service Centres and the Nigeria Police Force.

These reforms, they said, will enable the agencies to operate optimally in different states and enhance their performance.

They called for police reform as well as the delisting of the Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution to the Concurrent List.

The duo made the comment at a one-day Roundtable on Reform of the Criminal Justice System of Nigeria in Abuja Abuja on Wednesday. The event was organised by Abubakar Suleiman-led National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

Mr Gbajabiamila who was represented by a member of the House, Uzuwagbo Ugonna, said Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System beginning with the police, the Courts, the Correctional Service, the nation’s criminal laws and codes, including human personnel that manage its criminal justice institutions, need reforms.

He said National Assembly will not oppose any move to bring the idea to light.

“As legislators, we will not be opposed to amending the Constitution to remove the establishment and management of Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List. This, I believe, will fast-track and decongest our federal correctional centres and enable willing states to provide better correctional service centres with better living conditions for their people,” he said.

Speaking on autonomy for State Judiciary, the lawmaker said the autonomy being advocated by judicial officers across the nation should be granted without delay, to encourage justice without favour.

He also urged the federal government to consider the creation of special criminal courts.

On his part, Mr Lawan who was represented by Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Lagos) noted that no society grows without a productive criminal justice system, considering the additional role the sector plays in maintaining order and in fostering peace.

“With rising insecurity, we must be ready to strengthen the justice system and be bold enough to ensure that criminals go through diligent prosecution. This is to serve as a deterrent to others, reduce wrongdoings, promote peace and enhance growth and development.”

Earlier, Mr Suleiman called for the separation of the Ministry of Justice from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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This, he said, will allow for easy prosecution of corruption and restore public confidence in the administration of justice.

Their comments come on the heels of the strike by judiciary workers across the country who are demanding the implementation of section 121(3) of the Nigerian Constitution which is being flouted by the governors.

The section states that funds meant for the judiciary should be released to the heads of court in various states directly from the consolidated revenue account.

Despite a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered in January 2014 affirming the constitutional provision, governors have refused to comply. They are the main targets of the strike.

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