*CJN Praises Initiative, Calls For Expansion To Include More Participants
*NIALS DG, Prof Adedeji Adekunle SAN Says Event Was Hosted To Deliberate On The State Of Prisons As Well As Slow Pace Of Criminal Justice Dispensation.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; a former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Adedeji Adekunle (SAN); and other experts are currently meeting in Abuja to strategise on how to enhance the criminal justice system, decongest prisons and improve inmates’ welfare.

The three-day event with the theme: Consolidating Reforms in Criminal Justice and Its Administration – Best Practices, has participants from across other African countries.

Prof. Adekunle, now of the Juristrust Centre for Socio-Legal Research and Documentation (JCSLRD), said the gathering was intended for participants to deliberate on the state of prisons and inmates as well as the slow pace of criminal justice administration.

He added: “We have participants from Ghana, Rwanda, Mali, Uganda and South Africa. The conference will give us the opportunity to learn from one another to improve the criminal justice administration is our various countries.

“All this will lead to a process of decongesting our prisons and proffer ways of rehabilitating convicts in the country.”

Justice Ariwoola praised those behind the initiative and advised that subsequent editions be expanded to include more participants.

The CJN, who was represented by Justice Centus Nweze (of the Supreme Court), said judges should be invited to subsequent editions to “enable them listen to experts’ opinions in the legal profession.”

The event, which began yesterday, was organised by the Juristrust Centre for Socio-Legal Research and Documentation with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

One of the facilitators, Gbemi Jaiyebo of the Juristrust Center for Socio-Legal Research and Documentation, said the event was meant to bring out perspectives from other African countries with comparable criminal justice systems by speakers from Rwanda Kenya, Malawi and South Africa.

Dr. Kole Shettima of the MacArthur Foundation, said the event, which he described as very critical and important, would help in the promotion of the country’s criminal justice administration.

He said his foundation had supported programmes that bolster the momentum around Nigerian-led efforts to strengthen accountability and reduce corruption in the country.

Shettima said the MacArthur Foundation had supported several groups and organisations in Nigeria with programmes and activities geared towards improving criminal justice system in the country.

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