Since the introduction of the ACJA 2015, only selected States of the Federation have successfully domesticated the Act; thus making it imperative for increased efforts to promote the domestication and harmonized implementation of the ACJA 2015 across Nigeria in order to tackle existing and emerging areas of crime and criminality as well as ensure the effective and efficient administration of the criminal justice system. This would involve the collaborative efforts of all tiers of governments and their relevant agencies in Nigeria as well as all stakeholders in governance.
Thus the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with sole support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is organizing a nationwide State validation Public forum with relevant stakeholders on the Implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice. These auspicious engagement on the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria will begin today, 16th January, 2017, in Uyo Akwa Ibom State. Other states to follow in the first phase of the project are: Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Kano, Kogi, Jigawa, Bauchi and Adamawa.
This public forum will not only bring together lawyers in the public and private bar, key members of the Judiciary and House of Assembly, ACJA Practitioners, Academia, Civil Society Organizaitons (CSOs) but it will also include a rich mix of other key stakeholders from the Police, EFCC, ICPC, CCB, Prisons, Law Reform Commission, etc.
Beyond the state validation public forums, the NBA intends to establish long-term capacity development and continuing legal education training on provisions of the ACJA for legal practitioners in Nigeria, through the NBA/ICLE E-learning platform, continuing legal education Courses, toolkits and resources on the ACJA 2015 to legal practitioners and the general public, and facilitated Trainings of Trainers. The NBA shall also seek partnerships with selected Grantees of the MacArthur Foundation and other technical partners such as the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), CLEEN Foundation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) for technical assistance on the drafting of model laws and development of content for CLE.
It would be recalled that on the 9th of November, 2017, the NBA successfully organized the Administration of Criminal Justice Conference 2017 (#NBA2017ACJAC) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja; which was a high-level consultative forum for key stakeholders on the domestication and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) was signed into law on May 15, 2015. The substance of the Act, contained in Section 1 of ACJA 2015, states that: “The purpose of this Act is to ensure that the system of administration of criminal justice in Nigeria promotes efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of Justice, protection of the society from crime and protection of the rights and interests of the suspect, defendant and the victim”; and to this end, the Nigerian Bar Association under the visionary leadership of A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN, is purposed to standardize the administration of criminal Justice procedure across the 36 States of Nigeria.