The need to overhaul the Criminal Justice System by all the Criminal Justice actors ranging from Judicial officers, Judges, Nigeria prison Service, the ministries of Justice both the federal and State, Law enforcement Agencies, such as Nigeria Police Force, DSS , Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Custom Service and other relevant Agencies to come to an apt understanding of Importance and deep rationale behind administration of efficient Criminal Justice in Nigeria has been stressed.
A retired Judge of the Osun State Judiciary and Lecturer at the Adeleke University, Ede Osun State, Justice Olamide Oloyede made this known at a Social Development Forum organized by the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo in Osogbo the State Capital with a theme: “Slow Pace of Criminal Justice System and the way forward.”
Justice Oloyede described administration of Justice System as a direct conducting tool to prohibit any misconduct or misdemeanour that is intended to impede or threaten the Growth of the Country. Not only this but also a lawful mechanism to maintain Balance and Equilibrium in the Society in order to achieve a sustainable Development as expected by the People.
“Administration of Criminal Justice System is a direct effort towards check mating the Crime rates and Social Ills that may arise in any organized Society thereby bringing about restoration of sanity and fast growing Socio-economic Developments. When such is threatened with slow pace of action or bottleneck as a result of ulterior motive then, it is no longer Justice System,” she said.
She noted further that, the Slowness in the pace of administration of Criminal Justice is indeed a defeat to the existence of purpose of Justice System and a pointer to the fact that a Justice delayed is a Justice denied while calling on the criminal justice actors at all levels to overhaul the system with practical plans that would make the system to deliver on its Mandate, added that quality control education would go a long way at reducing Crime levels as poor education delivery could mostly breed poor thinking and mentality there by brewing bad habit, she however commended the large scale initiatives and front line roles of Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo towards the Cause of Justice in Nigeria.
“I therefore call on the Judicial Actors in the Institution of Criminal Justice System to see more to the importance of the Administration of the Criminal Justice so as to avoid slow pace of the process, it is until this is achieved then, quick dispensing of Criminal Justice can be realized. It is also imperative for Governments and educational players to prioritize quality control education so as to tame the tide of social ills, for, absence of good education can breed more Vices.
However, I must commend Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre, Catholic Diocese of Osogbo for the a job well done in the area Justice Dispensing, maintenance of peaceful co-existence and most of all Social Development in order to enhance Crisis free Society,” She affirmed.
Addressing the motley Crowd present on the topical discourse, the Guest Speaker. Barr. Sulaiman Adegboyega stressed that in accordance with section 36 sub-section 8 of the Provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, anyone charged with an offence must be firstly recognized by law therefore, it is a core duty of the Court to look into the matter with thoroughly investigative procedures at arriving to a logical conclusion of Guilt or Acquittal.
“In determination of his civil rights and obligations including any question or determination by or against any Government or Authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and Impartiality,” he said.
Barr.Adegboyega also maintained that attitudes of the Prosecutor, Court, Defendant and Prison were more often than not immensely contributed to the slow pace of administration of criminal justice such as lack of will to pursue the case to the logical end by the prosecutor, occasional non-appearance of the defendant and his lawyer, Court injunction and counter injunction or application, poor logistics on the part of the Prison Service and among others. He however called for more and adequate funding from the Executive Arm of Government in order for Judicial Arm to be able to deliver and dispense Justice to the quality taste.
Speaking one after the other, the representatives from the Nigeria Prison Service, Osun State, Mr.Shuaib Ayodeji, Mr.Oyeniyi of National Orientation Agency and Mr.Olufemi Balogun Esq of National Human Rights Commission opined the reasons Nigerians must imbibe and revitalize the National Values that placed premium on integrity, dignity, punctuality, Honesty, Patriotism, loyalty and Discipline as national standards for all the values were capable of lowering the level Social Vices and raising the bar of Nigeria’s Honour and Hope among the comity of nations. They also acknowledged ever dependable contributions of Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre towards the Development of Nigeria especially in ensuring that Crime rates became reduced to the barest minimum, particularly Corporate Social Responsibility services which were mostly rendered to the Community and Society at large.
In her remark, the Programme Officer of the Department of the Justice and Human Rights of the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre, Catholic Diocese of Osogbo Barr. Veronca onoja explained that ” There is no Cause as more important and honourable as fighting for the Justice of the downtrodden Masses especially the vulnerable People who are voiceless and lack the will power to obtain Justice for themselves.“
while calling for more support and urgent need for Judicial Actors to consider expeditious system of Criminal Justice so as to reassure the citizentry of a strong Belief in the Judiciary Arm of Government as the last hope of the common Men. she also reiterated the dedication and unwavering Assistance of the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo to the speedy administration and quick dispensing Criminal Justice in Osun State and Nigeria as a whole.