From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has charged Nigerian judges not to allow criminals escape justice on the platter of technicalities in the matters that may be brought before them.
Speaking on Monday at a workshop for Investigators and Prosecutors, Justice Muhammad said that thorough justice must be done to all matters by Judges so that trust and confidence can be sustained by litigants and the entire citizenry.
The annual national workshop was organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja.
‘It is often painful to see offenders walk away on technicalities just because due diligence was not observed during investigation or in the course of the trial.
‘To this end, your respective responsibilities have lasting impact on the peace, security and stability of this nation, flowing from the fact that the presence or absence of undesirable elements in the society is firmly situate within your day to day activities and the powers conferred on you via different legislations.
‘Therefore, failure to diligently investigate and prosecute can further endanger victims, witnesses, and other vulnerable persons.
‘I have no doubt that this workshop will identify aspects that require improvement and through this, form a network aimed at promoting cooperation among stakeholders in the criminal justice sector,’ the CJN stated.
In another development, Nigerian judges have been charged to be proactive, bold and avoid technicalities while administering justice on matters brought before them by aggrieved citizens.
Administrator of the National Judicial Institute NJI Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi (rtd) in his presentation at the occasion stated: ‘My Lords, distinguished participants, I must not fail to emphasise the need for Judges in this country to be proactive, by not allowing technicalities to stand in the way of substantive justice to aggrieved people.
‘The Judiciary is saddled with the responsibility of upholding the Rule of Law by interpreting and applying the relevant laws and this we will do to the best of our ability.’
In line with the theme of the workshop, “Promoting Uniformity in the Criminal Justice System”, the NJI Administrator said the training will enrich the capacity of investigators and prosecutors towards the implementation of a laudable piece of legislation: the VIolation Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015, ‘which have given respite to criminal trials in the justice sector.’
Taking into consideration the recent spate of insecurity in the country, Justice Garba said: ‘It is pertinent for the participants as Investigators and Prosecutors to be abreast with the legislations required to prosecute perpetrators of devious acts in our society.’
The NJI Administrator said discussions bordering on the overview of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended in 2013 will be on the frontburner at this year’s forum.
‘Consequently, the Institute is committed to making sure that our criminal justice sector is at par with the global best; certainly, this is a task that stakeholders must close ranks to tackle, as it is in the interest of all Nigerians that this hydra-headed monster of delay in criminal trials and indeed, insecurity becomes a thing of the past,’ Justice Garba said.