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Administration of Criminal Justice Act prohibits arrest by proxy, AIG Leye Oyebade tells policemen, others

Administration of Criminal Justice Act prohibits arrest by proxy, AIG Leye Oyebade tells policemen, others

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Group Photograph with Senior Officers and participants at the workshop…

Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone XI, Osogbo, AIG Adeleye Oyebade has told members of the police force that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) prohibits arrest by proxy.

He also noted that the Act stipulates that statements of suspects should be recorded under camera failure of which may render such statements inadmissible in evidence.

  • AIG Oyebade delivering his address*

AIG Oyebade spoke on Tuesday in Osogbo in his opening address at a two-day workshop for officers of the Nigeria Police Force on provisions of ACJA.

Hoping that participants will avail themselves of the unique opportunity the workshop offers so as to build their capacity and enhance their job performance, he commended the organizers, CLEEN Foundation (Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria) for its long standing collaboration with the police.

·         Cross section of participants at the workshop

Dwelling on ACJA and the police, AIG Oyebade said “The Nigeria Police Force as an essential component in the administration of Criminal Justice is expected to be at the forefront driving this reform. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) addresses the lacuna in the Criminal Procedure Act applicable in the South, and the Criminal Procedure Code which is applicable in the North. Such gaps or shortcomings inherent in the previous Act and Code are injurious to effective justice system hence the need to fill the gaps and address the shortcomings.”

He added that “Some innovations introduced to the ACJA, 2015 are specifically meant to address infringement on human rights of the citizenry especially those of suspects. For instance, sec. 7 of the ACJA, 2015 prohibits arrest by proxy that is, arresting a friend, an acquaintance or a family member in lieu of a suspect. Similarly, the ACJA, 2015 sec. 15 (4) stipulates that statements of suspects should be recorded under camera failure of which may render such statements inadmissible in evidence. This section of the Act aims at solving the problem of trial within trial which had hitherto served as an albatross to admissibility of confessional statements of suspects. The subsection reads:
“Where a suspect who is arrested with or without a warrant volunteers to make a confessional statement, the police officer shall ensure that the making and taking of the statement shall be in writing and may be recorded electronically on a retrievable video compact disc or such other audio visual means. Not only that, the ACJA in section 167(b) also frowns at discrimination against women in respect of entering into recognizance for suspects in custody. The subsection provides that:
A person shall not be denied, prevented or restricted from entering into a recognizance or standing as surety for any defendant or applicant on the ground that the person is a woman.

The AIG noted that “The merging of the CPA and the CPC is basically to ensure uniformity in the administration of criminal justice system irrespective of the state in Nigeria. It is a conscious effort aimed at reforming the legal system so as to change the ‘old order’ or ‘traditional way’ of doing things by evolving more civilized approaches to dispensation of justice beginning from point of arrest, arraignment and prosecution to point of committal to correctional facility or incarceration.”

He stressed that “ this workshop will sensitize police officers to the innovation/reform in the ACJA 2015 and keep them abreast of current reality in the overriding interest of the Force, conduct by police officers in the discharge of their duties and exercise of their powers. In-depth understanding of the provisions of the ACJA, 2015 will of course be a catalyst for changing the narratives of criminal justice system in Nigeria.”

 

See the full text of AIG Oyebade’s speech below:

OPENING ADDRESS BY AIG ADELEYE OLUSOLA OYEBADE, mni, ASSISTANT INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE, ZONE XI, OSOGBO DELIVERED AT A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP FOR OFFICERS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE ON PROVISIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT (ACJA) 2015 HELD AT ADOLAK INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, OSOGBO BETWEEN 10TH AND 11TH DECEMBER, 2019

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Distinguished participants and organisers of this workshop, I am delighted to be invited to deliver this opening address. The two-day workshop could not have come at a better time than this when the Nigeria Police Force and indeed Nigerians yearn for police reform.

The Nigeria Police Force as an essential component in the administration of Criminal Justice is expected to be at the forefront driving this reform. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) addresses the lacuna in the Criminal Procedure Act applicable in the South, and the Criminal Procedure Code which is applicable in the North. Such gaps or shortcomings inherent in the previous Act and Code are injurious to effective justice system hence the need to fill the gaps and address the shortcomings.

Some innovations introduced to the ACJA, 2015 are specifically meant to address infringement on human rights of the citizenry especially those of suspects. For instance, sec. 7 of the ACJA, 2015 prohibits arrest by proxy that is, arresting a friend, an acquaintance or a family member in lieu of a suspect. Similarly, the ACJA, 2015 sec. 15 (4) stipulates that statements of suspects should be recorded under camera failure of which may render such statements inadmissible in evidence. This section of the Act aims at solving the problem of trial within trial which had hitherto served as an albatross to admissibility of confessional statements of suspects. The subsection reads:
Where a suspect who is arrested with or without a warrant volunteers to make a confessional statement, the police officer shall ensure that the making and taking of the statement shall be in writing and may be recorded electronically on a retrievable video compact disc or such other audio visual means. Not only that, the ACJA in section 167(b) also frowns at discrimination against women in respect of entering into recognizance for suspects in custody. The subsection provides that:
A person shall not be denied, prevented or restricted from entering into a recognizance or standing as surety for any defendant or applicant on the ground that the person is a woman.

The merging of the CPA and the CPC is basically to ensure uniformity in the administration of criminal justice system irrespective of the state in Nigeria. It is a conscious effort aimed at reforming the legal system so as to change the ‘old order’ or ‘traditional way’ of doing things by evolving more civilized approaches to dispensation of justice beginning from point of arrest, arraignment and prosecution to point of committal to correctional facility or incarceration.

Therefore, this workshop will sensitize police officers to the innovation/reform in the ACJA 2015 and keep them abreast of current reality in the overriding interest of the Force, conduct by police officers in the discharge of their duties and exercise of their powers. In-depth understanding of the provisions of the ACJA, 2015 will of course be a catalyst for changing the narratives of criminal justice system in Nigeria.

It is expected that participants will avail themselves of the unique opportunity which this workshop offers so as to build their capacity and enhance their job performance. I therefore charge you to concentrate, learn and make meaningful contributions to get the best out of the workshop. While congratulating you, it is our expectation that with the knowledge you would have acquired here you will be able to impact or inspire others.
While appreciating the collaboration of the CLEEN Foundation (Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria), we hope that our collaboration that has been bearing fruits long before now will be further nurtured and sustained.

I thank you and wish you fruitful and impactful deliberations.

 

About Mikail Mumuni