The leadership of the National Assembly has proposed the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Correctional Service as part of efforts to reform security, judicial and justice systems of the country.
The parliament is seeking the movement of correctional services from the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution to the Concurrent List.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, made this known in Abuja on Wednesday a one-day Roundtable on Reform of the Criminal Justice System of Nigeria organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by a member of the House, Uzuwagbo Ugonna, said, “The scope of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System, beginning with the police, the courts, correctional service, our criminal laws and codes, including human personnel that manage our criminal justice institutions, need reforms.
“As legislators, we will not be opposed to amending the constitution to remove the establishment and management of Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List and add it to the Concurrent List.
“This, I believe, will fast-track and decongest our federal correctional centres and enable willing states to provide better correctional service centres with better living conditions for their people.”
“The autonomy being advocated by our judicial officers across the nation should be granted without delay, to encourage justice without favour. We should consider the creation of special criminal courts,” Gbajabiamila stated.
Lawan, who was represented by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said, “No society grows without a productive criminal justice system, considering the additional role the sector plays in maintaining order and in fostering peace.
“With rising insecurity, we must be ready to strengthen the justice system and be bold enough to ensure that criminals go through diligent prosecution. This is to serve as deterrence to others, reduce wrongdoings, promoting peace and enhancing growth and development.”
The Director-General of NILDS, Prof Abubakar Suleiman, in his remarks, called for the separation of the Ministry of Justice from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. He noted that the separation would allow for easy prosecution of corruption and restoration of public confidence in the administration of justice.
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