Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The Lagos State Government’s legal advisory committee on police prosecution of criminal cases has recommended a limit to the number and category of police prosecution of criminal cases in the state.
The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), disclosed this in a press statement issued by the Ministry.
Onigbanjo also pointed out that four of the nine recommendations of the committee will be implemented immediately while others will be addressed through the appropriate quarters.
He said police prosecutors need to be better trained and equipped to efficiently discharge the duties of prosecutors, as the ministry lacks the manpower to replace police prosecutors at the moment.
The Attorney-General said the Ministry of Justice will continue to provide the Nigeria Police Force with technical and infrastructural support to enhance the capacity of their prosecutors and investigators.
While reiterating Governor Sanwo-Olu’S commitment to the effective administration of justice, Onigbanjo noted that government will renovate, refurbish and equip the State CID library at Panti with legal materials and resources.
Onigbanjo said the government will employ a filter mechanism to check case files through immediate deployment of district prosecutors to three pilot magisterial districts in the state, namely Ebute- Metta, Ikorodu and Ogba.
“With immediate effect, we shall commence deployment of district prosecutors in three (3) Magistrate Courts to vet charges and review case files presented by the investigation Police Officers (IPO) to ensure it meets evidential threshold required by law,” Onigbanjo stated.
He disclosed that henceforth police prosecutors will have a limited category and numbers of cases they can handle. He said the category and the maximum number of cases will be disclosed after a joint meeting with the judiciary and the Commissioner of Police.
Onigbanjo said recommendation of the committee on police prosecution power review will also be incorporated in the amendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice System (ACJL) to be presented to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
The Commissioner announced that a team has been constituted to review the over 15000 pending cases as highlighted by the advisory committee at magistrate and high courts.
Onigbanjo added that bail verification as recommended by the committee will be proposed to the state judiciary for appropriate incorporation into the system.
Onigbanjo went on to assure Lagosians that the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu is dedicated to ensuring the speedy resolution of cases for an effective administration of justice.