Police compliance with the administrative Criminal Act will boost the human rights of the citizens.
This was the position of the Network of Police Reform in Nigeria NOPRIN Foundation during the launch of its book titled “Police Compliance with the Criminal Justice Act”.
Speaking at the book launch which held at the Watercress Hotel Ikeja Lagos Saviour Akpan Esq the Chairman NOPRIN Coordinating Committee said lack of effective monitoring of the implementation of the ACJA has led to disrespect for human rights by law enforcement officers.
He said: “This book presentation is a part of a NOPRIN project, with support from Trust Africa aimed at promoting law enforcement accountability, transparent and responsible policing and respect for human rights and rule of law”.
Barr. Akpan further stated that the Lagos State government in the bid to enhance better respect for the rights of citizens by the police in the law enforcement process as well as ensuring speedy dispensation of the Criminal Justice in the State, passed the administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) in 2011, which four years later in 2015, got passed at the federal level as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act(ACJA)2015.
He stated “These laws repealed and replaced the old Criminal Procedures laws of the various States and also at the federal level. The new law sought to regulate some daunting problems within the administration of Criminal Justice by introducing some far-reaching reforms.
“These reforms were expected among other things to ease prison congestion, end the abuse of the remand system, improve the delivery of criminal justice services by the courts and enhance capacity of law enforcement officials to act responsibly, accountably and professionally as well as ensure better safeguards for rights of persons who are processed through the criminal justice system.
“However, research by various Civil Society organization to ascertain the level of awareness, compliance implementation and enforcement of the Lagos ACJL 2011 and ACJL 2015 at the federal level by law enforcement officials particularly the police indicated poor knowledge of and low-level compliance with the laws.”
Almost 10 years after the amendments of the administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State ACJL 2011 the creative push for reform in Lagos State and the lofty goals and the outcomes envisaged by the legislation are yet to be achieved. One of the key factors responsible for the low-level implementation is the lack of effective monitoring by the committee set up under the law to monitor implementation.”
Also speaking at the event, Mr Ikule Emmanuel, the National Coordinator of NOPRIN Foundation said “Since 2008, NOPRIN has been in the vanguard of several police reform efforts in Nigeria ranging from legislative advocacy to CSO panel on police reform, public tribunals and sensitisation, issuance of press releases all aimed at ensuring that our police are accountable, transparent and respect human rights and the rule of law.
“This book presentation is coming at a time of so many security challenges facing the nation and testing the ability of the Nigeria police to respond. From Boko Haram insurgency that has been with us for ten years to kidnapping which had grown to become one big criminal industry to sexual offences especially as they affect children and more recently, the serial killing of young ladies in Port Harcourt, between April 2018- May 2019, NOPRIN recorded no less than seventy cases of reported abuses by police.
“With the enactment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act at the federal level and the incremental adoption by States about 15 states, it is time for us all to awake to our duty of ensuring that the provisions of ACJA are implemented to the latter especially as it concerns the police.
“It is time to dust up and implement the recommendations of the various police reform committees that were set up at different times by different governments including the recommendations of civil society panel that NOPRIN organised. It is our hope that this book with well researched and insightful papers contained therein which were presented at various convenings that held in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu would not only contribute to knowledge but would also be a catalyst for change.”