CSOs, Criminal Justice Actors Seek Improved Justice System In Cross River State

By Goodwin Otang

Despite Cross River being one of the most compliant in the implementation of the Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, Civil Society Organizations and Criminal Justice actors in the state are seeking improvement in the implementation of the ACJL. 

The demand for the improvement was made at a two-day step-down training for criminal justice actors and mentorship of the civil society observatory held in Calabar. 

In an address to stakeholders who included, men of the Nigerian Police, Correctional Service, Lawyers, National Human Rights Commission, Civil Society Organizations, and the media, the Executive Director of Cleen Foundation Mr. Gad Peter, called for improved tools, knowledge, and insights. 

“It is important that those who are entrusted with upholding the law and administering justice are equipped with the latest tools,  knowledge, and insights,” Gad said. 

The State Correctional Service Public Relations Officer, Efangha Etim, said “The ACJAL is applicable also in the Correctional Service.  Today at Calabar Correction Centres we have recorded a capacity of about 583, which is not supposed to be so.

“A lot has to be put in place so that the center is decongested; the capacity for 16 inmates we are running is over 60 to 70 which is excess.  The Federal Government has approved that the State Governments should support feeding inmates. So let’s have stakeholders sit up.”

Also,  Mrs. Lilian, State Council Representing the International Federation of Women Lawyers Federación Internacional Dé Abogadas, FIDA,  said only the full implementation of the ACJL will decongest the Correctional facility.

On her part, L. O Asuquo, State Council, Ministry of Justice, Department of Public Prosecution held that the “Area of implementation is improved resources for the discharge of our duties:  logistics if we should say so.”

Mr. Bernard  Ekobay,  Senior Programs Officer from Cleen Foundation, summarized, “We have been to Cross River twice,  to launch the independent CSOs observatory group due to poor implementation and domestication in the past. In Cross River, out of 25, 17 cases have been concluded, with 7 cases pending which is very commendable. So in the State ACJ is taken seriously. 

“We are also here to bring stakeholders to a table to discuss the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses that the ACJL presents. To make them work in synergy while implementing the law in the state. We want to see an effective implementation; that trials are speedily and justly dispensed,” he said. 

The training featured interactions amongst stakeholders across sectors on the implementation of the ACJL.

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