By Samson Yaki & Muhammad A. Dalhatu

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami (SAN), has described the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 as a revolutionary procedural law that has impacted positively on the administration of criminal Justice and criminal Justice policy in Nigeria.

Malami said this in his keynote address at a 2-Day workshop on ‘the Review and Validation of the Guide Book on Integrating of the Teaching of ACJA 2015 in Relevant Laws in Nigeria’, organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation in Abuja.

The Minister who was represented by SA to the President on Justice Sector Reforms & Assets Recovery, Ms Juliet Ibebaku-Nwagu, said since it was enacted in 2015, the law has contributed immensely to reducing trials delays in the prosecution of complex criminal cases and particularly corruption cases across the country.

He particularly welcome the laudable initiative, which he said is aimed at ensuring that innovative provisions are integrated into the teachings of relevant laws in the faculty of law in our Universities and in the Nigerian law schools.

He commended the DG NIALS and MacArthur Foundation for their collaborative effort which has culminated in the production of the guide book.

He added that the concept of the project which looks at supporting the effective implementation and compliance with the ACJA provisions in Nigeria, would also strengthen the Nigerian criminal Justice system and equally deepens the criminal procedures and knowledge of our laws as well as the knowledge of our students.

According to him, “this clearly demonstrate the level of dynamism in the law profession and this must be inculcated into the upcoming generation at the University level so that it would become an integral part of the curriculum development from the very early stage”.

He enjoined the crop of academics at the workshop to subjected the document to proper scrutiny and to further enrich the content of law students in Nigeria”. He added that, “there is need for us to appreciate the innovative provisions of Administration of the criminal Justice Act 2015 and to ensure that we continue to sustain the implementation of the visit that has already started.

“We need to look at our criminal Justice system and to define clearly the criminal Justice policy as it continues to be gathering opinion about how to approach some of the interpretation that we see in judicial precedence today.

“Therefore it behoves on the law teachers to make sure that not only to the students to understand what ACJA is all about but also that the Judges who have the responsibility to interpret these laws also have the opportunity to be trained and to understand what the ACJA provisions seek to do and how it will impact on our criminal Justice policy”.

Expressing concern over the need of Act, he pointing out the government’s fight against corruption, he said that the Act has helped in no little way in making sure that the Federal ministry of Justice was able to develop guidelines that would assist in this process.

He called on the scholars to make further recommendations on how to improve the relationship of the legal body from the academic level to the policy level and at the judicial level as well.

He expressed gratitude to the MacArthur Foundation and to the DG NIALS for taking the bold steps to embed criminal Justice system in law schools and law faculties.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, and DG NIALS, Professor Muhammed Tawfuq Ladan at the Opening Ceremony of the 2-Day Workshop, in Abuja.

Speaking earlier, in his welcome address, the Director General of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan said, the 2-Day first ever collaborative initiative was organized in the best interest of the nation’s criminal justice system and continuing legal education, adding that, it was aimed at providing a pattern for law faculties and the Nigerian Law School to participate actively in the Criminal Justice Sector reform through the review and validation of the Draft Guidebook on Integrating ACJA 2015 and ACJLaws of about 31 States of the Federation in the teaching of relevant Law Courses.

He said, “NIALS/Macarthur deliberately chose law teachers under the Nigerian Association of Law Teachers (NALT) to collaborate with, because they are the producers of Judges, Magistrates etc. as Justice Sector Actors.”

“The draft guidebook under review is premised on the innovative and salient provisions of ACJA 2015, adopted by 31 States of the Federation so far (Kebbi State being the latest in January, 2021)”, he stressed

“The ACJA 2015 (with 495) section ushers in a new dispensation in the administration of criminal justice by seeking to promote efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice and protection of the rights and interest of the society, the defendant and the victim”, he stressed

Professor Ladan said, “The workshop marks the beginning of a new era in our relationship with Law Faculties and the Nigerian Law School as envisaged by Section 4(f) of the NIALS Establishment Act, Cap. N112, FN2004.” He added.

“To cooperate with Nigerian Universities, the Nigerian Law School, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission and such other bodies (whether in Nigeria or elsewhere) engaged in any major field relating to law reform, development or research in the mobilization of Nigeria’s research potential for the task of national development and dissemination of research findings for the use of policy makers at all levels.” Prof Ladan revealed.

He added that “after the workshop, the guidebook  will be used to engage directly with the law teachers handling relevant law courses (criminal law or law of evidence of criminal procedure or criminal litigation) in a 2-Day capacity building workshop and mobilize a mini ACJA/ACJL library resources for each law faculty and the Nigerian Law School.”

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