Criminal justice system

Nigerian Prison Service launches a Prisons Information Management System
With support from RoLAC, the US Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), and the Rule of Law Advisory Team (RoLAT) in the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) formally launched their  Prisons Information Management System (PIMS). The PIMS is an integrated internet and intranet-based data management system that enables data officers in the NPS to capture and store inmates’ personal identity information. It also has a case management module that captures information and data on key events regarding each inmate including their movement, health and court attendance and thereby provides information on the level of compliance with ACJA provisions. The provision of accurate data and information through the PIMS, will form the basis for policy formulation and decision making by the NPS. The system has already been deployed to 86 prisons across 16 states. RoLAC will support deployment to prisons located in its focal states.

‘The presence of comprehensive and precise prisoner data is not only a precondition for effective and efficient prison management and strategic planning, but also an indispensable tool for ensuring that the human rights of prisoners are upheld.’

Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President

The launch was performed by the Vice-President, represented by Ambassador Dr Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President. Also in attendance were the Honourable Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd) CF, Phd (represented by Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of interior); Dr Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Hon. Justice J.T. Tsoho, Representing Hon. Justice Action (PRAWA).

‘The PIMS is an evident achievement towards enhanced access to the judicial system; evidence policy planning; successful chances to rehabilitate and reintegrate detainees into society; reduce prison congestion and perhaps more importantly enhance minimal standard rules for treatment of prisoners.’ 

Dr Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

FCT Magistrates increase oversight visits to places of detention
The FCT judiciary, with RoLAC support, has stepped up its inspection of places of detention in the FCT in line with Section34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. The provision of the law mandates magistrates to conduct monthly inspection visits to police stations and other places of detention to ensure that citizens’ rights are not breached through arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention. In the first half of 2018, a small number of visits were made by a few magistrates. With RoLAC’s support to the development of oversight tools and guides, and the training of 80 Chief Magistrates, DPOs and Area Commanders, there has been an increase in the number of Magistrates conducting inspection visits. Twenty-one magistrates and 40 other stakeholders participated between October and December 2018. Stakeholders have recommended that High Court Judges also participate in carrying out judicial oversight visits to other places of detention where chief magistrates lack jurisdiction. These include detention facilities run by the Department of State Security. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

‘…I anticipate that the subsequent monitoring visits would be more robust and productive with the use of the developed forms, guides/instruments.’ 

Chief Magistrate Josephine Obanor (Director of Magistrates)

Twenty-one magistrates and 40 other stakeholders participated between October and December 2018. Stakeholders have recommended that High Court Judges also participate in carrying out judicial oversight visits to other places of detention where chief magistrates lack jurisdiction. These include detention facilities run by the Department of State Security. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

National Assembly passes the Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons) Bill
The Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons) Bill has finally been passed by both houses of the National Assembly with just the Presidential assent hurdle to make it law. This followed extensive work over the years by criminal justice stakeholders. The Bill took into consideration other bills on prison reform that were before the National Assembly. Work on revising prison legislation started 16 years ago when the first amended bill was tabled before the National Assembly. Since its inception, RoLAC has supported a series of activities to move the bill towards passage. These have included support to technical sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives in collaboration with the Nigerian Prisons Service and support for the public hearing. Since the passage of the bill through the legislature, RoLAC has worked with stakeholders including CSOs, Ministries of Justice and Interior and the National Assembly to identify and address issues that may delay the signing of the Bill by the President

‘In the last one year, the Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons) Bill has enjoyed tremendous support from all stakeholders, mostly through the efforts of the technical committee on the prisons bill set up by the National Assembly. With support from RoLAC and PRAWA, the committee has rallied such support and interest through collaboration, sensitization activities and advocacy visits. The last hurdle is now to get the bill signed by the President.’ John Otuka, Federal Ministry of Interior

Access to Justice 

National Conference on the Gender-Based Violence Response in Nigeria
RoLAC together with other donors supported the Rule of Law Advisory Team in the Office of the Vice President to organise the first ever National Conference on the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) response in Nigeria. The two-day conference declared opened by Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo aimed to strengthen the fight against SGBV, share lessons in prevention and response, and identify/address gaps. The Conference also provided a platform for national coordination to encourage the replication of SGBV response teams across Nigeria. The conference was attended by 229 delegates (81 male / 148 female) including representatives of all 36 states, international organisations, government ministries, departments and agencies, and the private sector. Following the meeting, a database of SGBV response teams across the country was developed and many other states have stated their intention to form a team.

Disability bills signed into law at the federal level and in Anambra state
Even though Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, previous attempts bring in a Discrimination Against Persons with Disability law and put in place a legal framework that ensures the full integration of persons with disability have founded Intense advocacy by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) have led to the passage of Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Laws at federal level and in Anambra state. The enacting of the laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with disability brings to an end an 18-year struggle to end discrimination against the 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities and facilitates their access to justice.

“We are most grateful to ROLAC for identifying and supporting JONAPWD Anambra State since early 2018 - as a partner for the EU’s 11th EDF National Indicative Programme. Their intervention (component 2.3), which focuses on improving access to justice for persons with disabilities through the promotion of law and practices that facilitate access to us is apt, timely and has helped us get to this level so quickly. They also engaged us on a project titled ‘Advocacy Activities in support of Assent to Disability Rights Bill in Anambra State.’ 

Hon. Ugochukwu Okeke State chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD)

Curbing Corruption

More states commit to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy
Attorneys General from 6 states (Kogi, Nasarawa, Katsina, Imo, Enugu and Edo) and Solicitors General from Gombe and Katsina states have committed to engage more in the fight against corruption by adopting and developing their own  anticorruption strategies. They made this commitment at the first public presentation and federal level sensitisation forum on the national anti-corruption strategy which took place in Abuja, in December 2018.

The fight against corruption is mainly driven at the federal level with limited participation in states. Previously, only two states (Anambra and Adamawa) had adopted anti-corruption strategies with the support of RoLAC. The NACS forum helped to emphasise the need for states to adopt and own their own anti-corruption policies drawing from the NACS action plan.

The Attorney General - represented by Mr Dayo Apata, Solicitor General - said: ‘The document was meant to assist stakeholders in developing their plan on the best method to fully implement the strategy.” The NACS forum is aimed at popularizing and encouraging all citizens and stakeholders to take up the fight against corruption in the country. Since the NACS was approved by the Federal Executive Council in November 2017, the forum was the first national platform to present an opportunity for states and citizens across board to key into the federal government’s anti-corruption policy and campaign. 115 persons from ACAs, MDAs and NGOs attended the public presentation. Media and civil society representatives lauded the initiative and reiterated the need for all citizens in every state to join in the anti-corruption campaign.

‘I do not believe that the federal anti-corruption agencies are enough to address the issues of corruption. This should not be left alone to federal agencies.’ 

Oliver Stolpe, UNODC Representative

‘We need to share the NACS document widely by putting it online. The states should also take steps to ensure proper accountability in managing state funds. You need to put in place policies that will plug loopholes/leakages. States can develop policies and laws that can address mismanagement of state funds.’ 

Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legal Matters and Justice Reforms/OGP Chair

Anti-Corruption and Transparency Units take off in Kano
Kano state has become the first state to establish Anti-Corruption Transparency Units in its Ministries Departments and Agencies. This followed the inauguration of 61 senior and mid-level directors as heads of the newly establish Kano State Anti-corruption and Transparency Units (ACTUs) by the Kano State Government on 10 December 2018. These units will function as a tool for a systemic and preventive approach to the fight against corruption. They will carry out periodic corruption risk assessments and issue ethical standards and remedial guidelines in the MDAs in Kano state. The event was presided over by the Head of the Kano State Civil Service, and the Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints Commission. The Head of service advised the ACTU heads to take the task seriously and ensure that they carry out their mandate without fear or favour adding that this approach will help in ensuring that corruption is reduced to its barest minimum in the state. RoLAC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) provided technical support for the establishment of the ACTUs in Kano.

‘…I wish to reiterate that the Kano State Government will continue to partner with you (RoLAC) in all endeavours towards the reposition of the civil service for better service delivery’ 

Mr Muhammad Auwal Na’iya, Head of Civil Service, Kano State

CSO and media engagement

Twenty-two million Nigerians reached through the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence' campaign
The European Union, in collaboration with ROLAC, joined in the global campaign to end gender-based violence through activities to mark the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence' campaign. Notable Nigerian influencers and celebrities were engaged to create social media conversations with the aim of ending gender-based violence and encouraging Nigerian citizens to get involved. The 16 Days culminated in Abuja with a ceremony supported by RoLAC in conjunction with the EU and its Member States, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the High Commission of Canada. The event brought together Nigerian celebrities to share the stories of survivors of sexual violence. Children from schools in FCT attended, as well as the Speaker of the National Children’s Parliament. School children and VAW survivors at the event had an opportunity to speak about VAWG and their efforts towards raising awareness on violence against persons in their schools and communities. At the end of the campaign, the EU reported that an estimated 22 million Nigerians were reached through 8,151 social media posts of the celebrities and influencers.

‘I pledge my support to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls’ 

Banky Wellington

You can download the December 2018 - February 2019 newsletter below.