Civil Society Organizations in Edo State and CLEEN foundation on Wednesday demanded for a review of laws that empower police to prosecute suspects facing criminal trials in courts, citing human rights violation of Citizens.
They stated that the powers were used as a fig leaf and raft to patch up public confidence which had been damaged in the administration of Criminal Justice law (ACJL) in Nigeria.
The request was made on during their 2nd quarter State Working Group meeting on Accountable Governance, justice and security project-accessing.
The discussants spoke on the topic: “Challenges in the implementation of administration of criminal justice law of Edo State and way forward”.
The one-day roundtable are Officials from Edo State Ministry of Justice, Media, Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Bar Association and Edo Civil Society Organisations in Edo State.
The Coordinator General, EDOCSO, Leftist Omubude Agho, sought for an amendment of relevant laws that allow the Nigeria police to arrest and investigate matters alone while the prosecution of criminal suspects will be the exclusive preserve of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) upon the completion of investigation.
On the part of the Assistant Chief State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Department of Public Prosecutions, Edo State, Mrs. Odihirin Justina who despised any sentimental attachment to established modes of governance in Edo State, cited a plethora of authorities in levelling up the provisions and implementation of criminal Justice Administration in the State through evidence-led platforms.
She described the views of CSOs as a step in the right direction and worthy agreement that should not be lumped for a just society.
“In Ministry of Justice today, we discovered that 70 percent of the files on our table brought in by the police, are those who don’t have anything to do in detention at all.
“So, when we in the DPP discovered that, we recommended that they should be released and they were released.
“I believed that this is happening because the police want to assume the role of arrest, investigation and prosecutions.
“So, I will suggest that their roles should be narrowed to the arrest and investigation of criminal suspect while the prosecutions should be left with the DPP”, she said.
Our Correspondent reports that rising level of criminal activities, public unrest, frivolous experte orders, use of discretionary powers by judges, and issues of jurisdiction were mentioned at the meeting.
Others include undue interference by security agents on criminal matters in prosecution and measures to take to ameliorate the plights of awaiting trial inmates in detention facilities.