President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have called for the unbundling of Correctional Service Centres and the Nigeria Police Force.
While calling for the reform of the Police Force, they advocated for the delisting of the Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution to the Concurrent List.
The duo spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at a one-day Roundtable on Reform of the Criminal Justice System of Nigeria. The event was organised by Professor Abubakar Suleiman-led National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
Gbajabiamila in his remarks, read by a member of the House of Representatives, Uzuwagbo Ugonna, said: “The scope of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System beginning with the Police, the Courts, the Correctional Service our criminal laws and codes, including human personnel that manage our criminal justice institutions need reforms.
“As legislators, we will not be opposed to amending the Constitution to remove the establishment and management of Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List. This, I believe, will fast tract and decongest our Federal Correctional Centres and enable willing States provide better Correctional Service Centres with better living conditions for their people.”
Speaking on autonomy for State Judiciary, Gbajabiamila said: “The autonomy being advocated by our judicial officers across the nation should be granted without delay, to encourage justice without favour. We should consider the creation of special criminal courts.”
Lawan who was represented by Solomon Olamilekan on his part, said: “No society grows without a productive criminal justice system, considering the additional role the sector plays in maintaining order and in fostering peace.
“With rising insecurity, we must be ready to strengthen the justice system and be bold enough to ensure that criminals go through diligent prosecution. This is to serve as a deterrence to others, reduce wrongdoings, promote peace and enhance growth and development.”
Direction-General of NILDS, Professor Suleiman, in his remarks, called for the seperation of the Ministry of Justice from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. He said this will allow for easy prosecution of corruption and restore public confidence in the administration of justice.