The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), A. B. Mahmoud OON, SAN, yesterday met with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Police Programme Africa (PPA) team led by Mr. Zander Hartmut to familiarise the Nigerian Bar Association with the work of the GIZ, and discussed areas in which the GIZ activities in Nigeria dovetail into the objectives of the NBA.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is a federal enterprise that acts on the basis of the values and fundamentals of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The NBA President, at the event, began by giving an overview of the NBA as the foremost professional membership organisation for legal practitioners in Nigeria. The President reiterated “the organisational objectives of the NBA as provided in Section 3 of its Constitution to include the “Promotion and advancement of Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Advocacy and Jurisprudence; Improvement of the system of administration of justice, its procedures and the arrangement of court business and regular law reporting; Promotion and support of law reform; Promotion of co-operation between the Association and other National or International Law Organisations and such other bodies as may be approved by the National Executive Committee”.
A. B. Mahmoud, SAN also said that,” as part of the NBA programmes towards promotion of human rights in Nigeria, the Human Rights Institute of the Nigerian Bar Association in partnership with Access to Justice and with the support of MacArthur Foundation commenced and concluded a review of Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules. “The NBA, through the Human Rights Institute has Observer Status in African Commission on Human Rights, and since the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Commission, it has been participating in the activities of the Commission”,
On the NBA Task Force on the North-East; The NBA President noted that the Task Force led by Professor Muhammad Tabiu, SAN as its Chairman, is responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the Association in the North-East of Nigeria and is finalising a ‘North-East Intervention Strategy’ Document which will guide its engagements and ensure a co-ordinated response by the NBA and its partners within the region.
With regards to the Administration of Criminal Justice; The NBA President informed the visiting German team about the MacArthur Foundation grant for the ‘Promotion, Domestication and Implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Legislation across Nigeria’-The project is a three-year legislative advocacy and capacity development program in 28 states aimed at promoting the domestication of uniform criminal justice legislation in Nigeria. The project activities include a National ACJA Conference, Legislative Advocacy and Technical Support to State Legislatures and Continuing Legal Education Courses through the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education.
A. B Mahmoud also reiterated the commitment of NBA in its National pro-bono scheme which was formally launched in February, 2017 when the Association entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. Under the MO U, both organisations would engage in the registration and training of NBA members from its 125 Branches across Nigeria as pro-bono legal services providers and paralegal volunteers to Nigerian citizens. The scheme is in the process of engaging in the decongestion of prisons and detention facilities across Northern Nigeria.
In his remark, Zander Hartmut said the GIZ PPA (Police Programme Africa) is financed by the German foreign office and implemented through GIZ and is active in several African countries including Niger, Chad and Mauritania. The programme strengthens the capacities of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Immigration Service for investigation and border security.
In 2015, the PPA included Nigeria with two key partner institutions – Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to ensure the investigation and border security capacities of the NPF and NIS . In April 2017 the project received additional funding to expand its activities to work closely with the NPF – Forensic Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (NPF – FCIID) and the Federal Ministry of Justice – Department of Public Prosecution (FMoJ – DPP) as well as some pre-selected states to wit: :Lagos, Kaduna and Sokoto.
The goal of this expansion is to improve the investigative capacities of the police and public prosecution. To this end, the following areas of support have been identified for the justice system:
-Support trainings for investigators and prosecutors on general criminal procedures and modern means of investigation on forensics and on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (hereinafter referred to as ‘ACJA 2015’);
-Establish forums for dialogue between the NPF and DPPF to ensure regular meetings, improve the standard for cooperation and foster collaboration, including but not limited to supporting the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) Sub-committee on investigation and prosecution;
-Support the implementation of the ACJA 2015 to expedite criminal proceedings;
-Support the use of verified material evidence provided by the police in criminal proceedings; and
-Provide small scale equipment.
In conclusion, the Nigerian Bar Association and GIZ agreed to continue the discussion on implementation of NBA E-Justice Monitoring Application as well as in the development of ICLE E-Courses on general criminal procedures and modern means of investigation on forensics and on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.