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Judge blasts Police over poor handling of criminal cases

By Peter Duru

MAKURDI—Federal High Court Judge, Justice Abimbola Ogie, has condemned the Nigeria Police for alleged disregard for the tenets of the rule of law, especially in the handling of criminal cases describing the practice as unhealthy in the administration of criminal justice in the country.

Justice Ogie expressed dismay at the manner the police treat accused persons without consideration to the laid down laws and in some cases engaging in extra-judicial activities while performing their duties. She stressed that such attitude is not good for the image of the force.

She made this assertion at a one-day sensitization workshop organized by the Human Rights Law Service, HURILAWS, a non-governmental organization in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Makurdi branch, held in Makurdi.

The judge therefore called for the proper training of the policemen in the country in order to change their orientation and dealings towards suspects.

She also charged lawyers to be in the forefront of creating awareness through public prosecution, most particularly when the rights of the citizens are abused by the police and to also guide magistrates to give judgments that will stand the test of time.

Delivering a paper entitled: “Administration of criminal justice sector in Benue state,” Mr. Ter T. Ihyundu called for the video recording of the persons while giving statements to the Police in the presence of their counsels as has been adopted by the Lagos state government.

In his contribution, Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Public Utilities, Mr. Agbo Madaki, who chaired the session, expressed worry that the Bill to effect a better administration of criminal justice was still pending at the National Assembly and hoped that the overhauling  of the entire criminal justice system will curb the excesses of law enforcement agents.

University of Technology, who presented the lead paper on “The Near Collapse of the Criminal Justice in Nigeria”, stressed the need for the Bar to be proactive in order to effect change in the criminal justice system.

Earlier in a welcome address, the chairman of NBA Makurdi branch, Mr. Donatus Zuanah called on the stakeholders to seriously brain storm on the subject of the workshop and come out with the decision that would effect a change in the administration of criminal justice in the state and country.


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