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RoLAC organises workshop on administration of criminal justice

The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) in partnership with the European Union and British Council organised a one-day workshop on criminal justice on Tuesday with the theme: “Appraisal of Current Criminal Justice Regime in Lagos State.”

A representative of RoLAC, Dr Oluwatoyin Dadejogun, said the criminal justice system must be able to respond with a heart that flowed with compassion. He said it should be able to discern and respond with a reformative objective in mind, stressing that the rules that regulate the system were made by people.

“The system at the end of the day should reflect the premium placed on human life and dignity, safety, security on victim of crime, offender, and social harmony or cohesion,” he said.

Dadejogun commended Lagos State Judiciary for championing reform in criminal justice administration in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, said that the state government was working diligently to meet the expectations of the citizens in their quest for justice.

According to her, regardless of the daunting challenges in having successful criminal justice reforms, the state government is working seriously to meet the expectations of the citizens. The state was also ensuring that litigants get the best justice system and experience, the Chief Judge said.

She said some of the challenges facing criminal justice reforms in Lagos included lack of access to good counsel by indigent citizens, media trial by security agencies, inadequate funding and inadequate trained prosecutors, among others.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said implementing the reform in criminal justice and maintaining law in a highly populated state like Lagos was a daunting task.

He said his expectations from the workshop included discussion on new trends and reforms that had worked, not just in other parts of Nigeria but also other jurisdictions.

Kazeem said their deliberations should particularly consider options of the traditional judiciary system and efforts at decongesting the prisons. The commissioner said measures of post-conviction geared at rehabilitating convicts whilst preparing them for integration should also be debated.

Amongst the participants were individuals from the Ministry of justice, Nigerian Bar Association, police prosecutors, Nigerian Prisons, Magistrates and High Courts Judges in Lagos.

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