Domesticate ACJA for dispensation of corruption cases, Group urges states

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Cleen Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation, on Friday in Abuja urged states to domesticate the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 with a view to ensuring speedy dispensation of corruption cases in Nigeria.

Mrs Rita Elasuju, Assistant Project Officer, Cleen Foundation made the call while presenting the foundation’s 2nd policy brief on promoting accountability and transparency in the implementation of ACJA in Nigeria to ACJA Monitoring Committee.

The document is titled, “The potential of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to bolster the fight against corruption”.

Elasuju said that since the inception of the Act, 29 out of 36 states had domesticated the Act while Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger, Imo, Taraba, Gombe and Borno states had not done so.

She emphasised that most state governors were becoming aware of the aims and import of the existence of such law for their state judiciary, thus passing the law.

“It is paramount for the Chief Judges of states that are yet to domesticate the law to take a united approach in embracing the gains of ACJA by pro actively moving for its full adoption in their states.

“Partial adoption may not guarantee judicial reform or the full rewards of the Act,” she said.

Elasuju also pointed out the need to ensure uniform application of the law across the country.

She said, “out of the 26 states that that have adopted the law, only a few of the state laws share a near complete semblance to the principal legislation.

“Some states have their laws enhanced and well detailed thus leaving no room for gaps as is obtainable with the Act, while others have their law drafted in such a manner that departs from the spirit of the ACJA,” she said.

Elasuju, however, expressed worry that in spite of efforts by the Federal Government and civil society groups to spread the law, lawyers and litigants still find a way to cause unnecessary delays in the hearing of corruption cases. 

She urged the prosecuting agencies to demonstrate resilience and passion in the prosecution of corruption and financial crime cases using the ACJA, 2015. 

Receiving the report, Mr Sulayman Dawodu, Secretary, Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, said that the report would be reviewed by sub committees with a view to presenting viable and empirical data to the larger committee. 

According to Dawodu, there is need to have solidly viable and empirical data that the sub committees can submit to the larger committee. 

“It will be extended to other institutions and notes will be compared for improved implementation of ACJA through analysis of cases and trends,” Dawodu said. (NAN)