The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has urged all stakeholders in the judicial sector to unite in their efforts to implement and administer the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. The Chief Justice made this impassioned plea during the opening of a three-day National Stakeholders’ Forum for the Review of the ACJA, 2015, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of States, held in Abuja from October 24th to 26th, 2023.
Represented by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the Chief Justice acknowledged the critical importance of this gathering, initiated by the federal government, as it provides a platform for authorities from both the federal and state levels to collaborate and work towards a common goal. He expressed his appreciation for the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Justice and the Center for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), underscoring the need for a unified approach to the challenges faced by the ACJA.
In his keynote address, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, emphasized the shared interests of both states and the national government in the field of criminal justice reform. Fagbemi stressed the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to enhance the responsiveness of the country’s criminal justice system, and the opportunities for discussion and review that the domestication of the ACJA has provided.
Fagbemi anticipated that the forum would yield a consensus on the development of a strategic plan to guide federal and state governments in amending the ACJA and state-specific ACJLs. He also underscored the Federal Ministry of Justice’s commitment to collaborative and supportive roles, emphasizing the objective of improving all justice sector institutions.
The Minister called on a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including states, Civil Society Organizations, and International Development Partners, to actively participate in the effective implementation of policies, programs, and laws that would lead to a dynamic and efficient criminal justice administration system, while also striving for a more balanced, effective, and inclusive system of justice.