By Olasunaknmi Akoni
The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, said that the lacuna in the old criminal law enacted since 1914 makes the comprehensive review of the law by the state government inevitable.
He added that the reviewed of the 98 year-old criminal law of the state was to accommodate new trends and wave of crime as well as defences and punishments for offenses and accused persons.
Ipaye, speaking at a one-day legislative awareness and sensitisation programme organised by the Office Political and Legislative Powers Bureau, recently, also said the old criminal law lack some provisions that are very essential in the adjudication of justice in recent times, “continuous changes in the society demands a continuous review of the state laws to fast track prompt administration of justice.”
Ipaye, said the old criminal law only provided for imprisonment and fine as only penalties for crime while other options such as non-custodian and restitution probation were not considered, which, according to him, saw offenders convicted for minor offenses.
He however added that in the new criminal law, compensation and some new conditions that may serve as defence for the accused person have been put in place for consideration in the new laws, adding that the new laws have been simplified to make it more comprehensible for all the citizens.
The Attorney-General disclosed that the state government will embark on periodic enlightenment and sensitisation of the public on the new laws to enable every citizen in the state keep abreast of the provisions of the law.
Ipaye said: “It is said that ignorance is not an excuse for flouting the law, true, but government must go a step further to ensure that the law is made public. We want forums like this that we can promote the law in local languages then we can say we have an inclusive poised to serve the people”.
On his part, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Political Legislative Powers Bureau Mr Muslim Folami said reaching a violent free Lagos is task that must be accomplished by the state government and the general public, the state government would continue to promote an enabling environment for the smooth administration of justice in the state.
Folami described the law review as attempt by the Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State to modernize and update the administration of criminal justice system, saying the programme would give the opportunities to citizens to have better understanding of the dictates f the law.
“It will afford the stakeholders to participate in the good governance of the state as vital issue inherent in the law will be analysed since all legislation passed often form the bedrock of the cardinal objectives of the present administration towards making Lagos economic hub and nerve centre of Nigeria and indeed Africa,” he said.