Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, on Tuesday in Jos inaugurated an 11-member committee of the Justice Sector Reform Team (JSRT), to ensure continuous improvement of criminal justice delivery in the state.
According to Lalong, the measure is part of the state government’s efforts to implement the Administration of Criminal Justice Law in Plateau
“We expect the team to systematically collate, analyse and publish information relating to the administration of criminal justice sector, which will form the substance of quarterly reports,” he said.
Lalong assented to the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Plateau State, on Oct. 25, 2018.
He said that the reports would be presented to the Chief Judge, to guide him toward continuous improvement of criminal justice delivery.
He said the formal inauguration of the Team, was in pursuant to Section 464 -467 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which would facilitate its implementation in the state.
Lalong expressed optimism that the Plateau Team would maintain and improve on the achievements recorded, as the only state in the country which had more convicts than awaiting trial inmates in its correctional facilities.
He said the feat attracted attention of Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee, which sent a delegation to the state in 2019 to understudy the system, “with a view to recommending it as a Model to be adopted by other states’’.
He said that the team would ensure that issues such as indiscriminate arrest and detention of persons by some law enforcement agencies and absence of effective coordination among institutions involved in Criminal Justice Administration was drastically curtailed.
Lalong said funds had been made available for the completion of the ultra-modern State High Court complex and the construction of the Multi-Door Court House building, which would increase access to justice by the citizens.
He said that in spite of the financial constraints of government, it would appoint more judges for the superior courts, adding that the government’s doors were open for collaborations and enhance smooth dispensation of justice.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of the High Court of Plateau, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, commended the governor for signing 18 new bills in the state into law.
According to Dakwak, this shows the governor’s commitment in improving the legal system of the state and well-being of the people.
He said efforts were being made to establish a Sexual Offenders Centre where records of all sexual offences in all courts would be kept and accessed by the public.
He urged members of the team to be committed to their duties, saying it was a service unto God and humanity.
The inauguration was facilitated by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative, also known as Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN).
PWAN objective is to enhance citizens’ participation and improve security governance in Nigeria and West Africa’’.
Earlier, the Senior Programme Manager of PWAN, Mrs Barbara Maigari, commended Plateau for the already existing synergy between critical stakeholders in the justice system.
Maigari said the team should be a good model which would attract even the national and other state teams to emulate.
She presented copies of the abridged version of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, to the governor and other agencies for public access.
The 11-member committee, is headed by the Chief Judge of the state, with the Police, Nigerian Correctional services, Plateau State Ministry of Justice and National Human Rights Commission, among others as members.(NAN)