The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) MacArthur Project in response to an invitation by the Jigawa State House of Assembly organized a one day technical support retreat for members of the Jigawa State House of Assembly Committee on Justice and Judiciary on the States’ Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, 2017 which is before the committee.
In his welcome remarks, the Project Coordinator of the NBA-MacArthur Project, Muritala Abdul-Rasheed, Esq acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the Jigawa State House of Assembly for the hard work put into the Bill. He also thanked the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice and Judiciary and members of the Committee for inviting the NBA-MacArthur Project Team and granting it the opportunity to organize the retreat.
He noted that, the NBA is ready to invest considerable time and technical resources in its bid to promote the domestication and implementation of ACJA 2015 in Jigawa State with the support of MacArthur Foundation. “It is the firm belief of the NBA that if the ACJ, 2018 Bill of Jigawa State is adopted with all the progressive elements in ACJA, 2015, it will ensure effective and efficient administration of criminal justice in Jigawa State. This is because the ACJA, 2015 has several bold and innovative provisions which aimed at addressing the problems in our criminal justice system.”
Prof. A. B. Ahmed of Bayero University Kano, who chaired the Kano State drafting committee bill gave the general overview of ACJA 2015, and the need for its speedy domestication in Jigawa State.
He pointed out that the ACJA is an encapsulation of the outcome of numerous consultations and recommendations and that it is a response to the need for new legislations to aid in the reform of the justice sector to reflect the true intent of the Constitution and simplify the criminal justice process.
On the purpose of the ACJA, the lead speaker pointed out the following;
- Promote efficient management of the criminal justice
- Speedy dispensation of justice
- Protect the society from crime.
- Protection of the rights and interests of the Defendant and victim of crime.
Discussing further on the ACJA itself, Prof. Ahmed stated that it introduced innovations to enhance efficiency of the criminal justice system and fill in the gaps in existing procedural laws that have been observed for decades. He said that the Act is a revolution that will make justice more humane and it merged the Criminal Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Act. He mentioned that in Kano, the Shariah law was incorporated for the purpose of unification.
He commended the ACJA for considering the victim of crime.
Mustapha Adamu Bello Esq, a member of the committee that drafted the Jigawa State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, 2017 stated that there is need for the speedy domestication of the ACJA in Jigawa State as the Criminal Justice System in the State is faced with delays and blame shifting among stakeholders. He also pointed out that attention was paid to local peculiarities in drafting the bill. A case in point is the part 2 of the ACJ Bill, 2017 which was copied verbatim from section 4-17 of the CPC. He noted that Prof. Ahmed had done justice in his presentation of the innovations introduced by ACJA and he cannot stressed it any further than that.
The session was dissolved into an interactive session to critically analyze the ACJ Bill, 2017 and proffer the way forward in ensuring it speedy passage into law. Prof. Ahmed led the discussion providing his wealth of experience at the disposal of the Honourable members who sought technical input .
Hon. Musa Sule Dutse, a member of the committee and Chairman of the Appropriation committee sum of the feelings of members of the committee when he noted that, he didn’t know much about the bill excerpt today. He thanked the NBA and MacArthur foundation for accepting to organize the retreat.
Hon. Yusuf Umar said; “I’m a strong believer of the maxim; Justice delayed is Justice denied, therefore after analyzing the bill today and what it brings forth, I will do whatever it is in my power to see the bill is passed in earnest”.
In concluding the interactive session, Prof. Ahmed suggested another closed door meeting between the NBA State Coordinating Committee and the committee members for another page by page scrutiny of the bill, after incorporating all the suggested model clauses in the retreat so as to reflect the peculiarities of the state. This he said, will enable the legislators to defend every clause when presenting the bill before the committee of the whole of the whole House.
The retreat has in attendance Hon. Bala Hamza Gada, Esq Chairman of the Committee on Justice and Judiciary and other members of the committee which includes; Hon. Adamu Idris Andaza, Hon. Yusuf Umar, Hon. Lawan M. Dansure, Hon. Muhammed A. Bulangu, Hon. Musa Sule Dutse Barr. Musa A. Abubakar (Dir. Legal Services) Barr. Isyaku Ado (Committee Secretary).
Members of the State ACJ committee led by its Chairman Baffa Alhasan,Esq together with all the other committee members made valuable inputs to the discussion.
Office of the President of the NBA [OPNBA]
1st July, 2018