Stakeholders in the criminal justice sector, including a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Emmanuel Agim, and the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, on Wednesday lamented poor funding of criminal investigations by various law enforcement agencies in the country.
They said without adequate funding of investigation of crimes, prosecution of suspects and crime fighting in general could never be successful.
They spoke at the ‘Training for Officers of the Nigerian Police: Towards Effective Implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015’ in Abuja.
Three hundred and fifty police officers participated in the training organized by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, who declared the ceremony open, said his administration, anchored on policing with integrity, believed in the training of members of the police force.
He said he would not relent in efforts to rid the force of bad eggs, while upright officers would be rewarded.
Justice Agim, who represented the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said the quality of investigation would determine the outcome of the any criminal case built on it.
He said, “Unless the pre-trial process is fair and transparent, the end, which is the trial, will fail.
“Investigation is the foundation of what is going to happen in future, the trial.”
He said investigation required huge funding in order to fight crime effectively.
Justice Agim added, “We must spend more on police and more on investigation.
“There is still a huge problem with investigation. Investigation does not mean detaining a suspect for long before taking his statement. It does not require just taking the suspect’s confessional statement. All these must happen before the arrest.
“You have to have fund, in order to deal with the facts.
“Investigation requires logistics. It requires funding. It requires you to provide vehicles and stationeries to take the statement. To be able to arrest, they need vehicle and they need stationeries to be able to take the statements of suspects. Lack of funding for investigation will make a police officer to sit back in the office and compile the file only to the extent that he can.”
He also advocated training and retraining of the policemen.
He advised police officers to shun corruption in order to muster “the moral will” to function effectively.
He said, “You need the moral will to do what is right. If you do not have the moral will you cannot effectively enforce the law.
“What is your moral standard and professional ethics?
“If you do not have the moral will you cannot effectively enforce the law by arresting a suspect or in taking his statement.”
Also speaking on funding of the police, Owasanoye said without proper funding, crime fighting could make no headway.
While noting, however, that it was impossible for the police to get all the required funding, he called on the Inspector-General of Police to create a “credible” platform to receive contributions from members of the public.
“So, many of us are ready to contribute so long as we are sure it will not end up in somebody’s pocket,” he said.
He also called on the Inspector-General of Police to continue to deal with corrupt officers and to also establish a system of rewarding the upright ones.
The President of the CSLS, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), said the police was “central to the effective implementation of the ACJA.”
He said, “Several provisions of the Act depend entirely on the police. For example, the establishment of the Central Criminal Records Registry, which is an electronic and manual platform for storing criminal justice data, the deployment of video recording and other modern gadgets for modern law enforcement, the observance of arrest protocols and the new guidelines for remand proceedings, depend heavily on the police.”
Akinseye-George, who advocated sufficient funding of the police institution, lamented a situation whereby the rank and file of the police would have to spend part of their meagre salaries or depend on handouts from complainants to perform their official functions.
He noted that the police played the leading role in fighting systemic and endemic corruption including electoral fraud as “all other anti-corruption bodies are merely offshoots of the police.”
He said, “Without a good and effective police, there can be no meaningful economic and social progress.”
Source: The Punch
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