A senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chinonye Obiagwu, has called for for more awareness about the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 and the proper implementation of the law
He made the call in a Zoom trianing for the staff of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) In Abuja on Sunday.
Obiagwu who was a Guest speaker at the zoom training titled “ACJA as Legislative Tool for the Protection of Human Rights in Nigeria” stated that ensuring a smooth implementation of ACJA was a part of the mandate of the commission.
Obiagwu who is also the National Coordinator of the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) cited the role of the Commission in ensuring a smooth implementation of the ACJA as contained in Sections 33.
He said Section 33 provides that:”an officer in charge of a police station or an official in charge of an agency authorised to make arrest shall, on the last working day of every month, report to the nearest Magistrate the cases of all suspects arrested without warrant within the limits of their respective stations or agency whether the suspects have been admitted to bail or not.”
He said the Act mandates the NHRC and relevant stakeholders to request from the Attorney-General of the Federation reports of cases of all suspects arrested without warrant.
“The NHRC is empowered by the ACJA to monitor the compliance or otherwise of the monthly report of the cases of all suspects arrested without warrant by the Police or other authorised agencies.
“It will enable the commission to ascertain whether they have been admitted to bail or not, and to take the necessary action when the need arises.
” Under the Act, any charge before the Magistrate Court supposed to commence within 30 days of bringing the charge or trial.
” If trial has began but has not been completed after 180 days of arraignment on that charge, the Court shall forward to the Chief Judge the particulars of the charge and reasons for failure to complete the trial.
“The NHRC is mandated to monitor the above processes and make intervention where necessary” he stated.
He noted that these enormous responsibilities of the Commission should be reasons for government and other stakeholders to assist in providing the needed infrastructure and resources to effectively carry out these duties.
“It has become increasingly imperative for government to properly fund the Commission given its expanded mandate and oversight responsibilities on other government agencies.
“This will in turn impact positively in the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in Nigeria.
” The fund will assist the commission to seamlessly deliver on its mandate”
He therefore called for the activation of the Human Rights Fund which is contained in the NHRC Amendment Act 2010.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Mr Tony Ojukwu enjoined participants to make good use of the opportunity of the training.
” It will open new areas of knowledge for you to discharge your duties effectively” he said.
Participants at the training expressed delight at the wealth of experience gathered.
They therefore urged the Commission to do more in the area of capacity building to enable them be better equipped to do their jobs.