The Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service Bill harmonized and ready for third reading at the National Assembly

The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme supported the harmonization of the various Bills in the National Assembly related to Prisons reform in line with submissions made at the joint public hearing held on 30 March 2018 at the National Assembly.

A total of eight Bills in both Houses were harmonised into a single Bill. The harmonised version of the Bill to be known as the ‘Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service Bill’ seeks to transform the Nigerian Prisons Service to better align with international best practice. Key elements include improved welfare of staff and inmates, responses to overcrowding and a reduction in the average length of time Awaiting Trial Prisoners (ATPs) spend in custody by implementing the provisions of the administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) on non-custodial measures including probation, suspended sentences, and community service.

The process of harmonizing the Nigerian prisons Bill included several interface and consultative technical meetings with the representatives of the Senate President, Speaker, Clerks, Committees on Interior and other stakeholders in the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Interior, Nigerian Prisons Service and CSOs. The harmonized bill has been re-submitted to the National Assembly and awaits its third hearing.

Public Hearing on Administration of Criminal Justice Bill in Adamawa State

Adamawa State House of Assembly held a public hearing on its Administration of Criminal Justice Bill on 5 June 2018 at Duragi Hotel, Army Barracks Road, Jimeta-Yola. The hearing was organised by the Adamawa State House of Assembly Committee on Justice and Judiciary in conjunction with the State Ministry of Justice and the RoLAC Programme. Approximately 150 persons attended the event.

The participants at the hearing were pleased to endorse the Bill, acknowledging that the Admin-istration of Crimi-nal Justice (ACJ) Bill has the poten-tial to provide the long-awaited rev-olution for the delivery of crimi-nal justice in the state. Many stakeholders be-lieve that the criminal justice system in its current form has lost its capacity to respond quickly to the needs of the people of Adamawa State , with its inability to check the rising waves of crime, speedily bring criminals to book and protect the victims of crime.

Participants urged the house committee to fast-track the hearing report on the ACJ bill so that the house committee on justice and judiciary can present the bill to the plenary of the state house of assembly for endorsement and passage into law. Two other bills were also considered at public hearing include — the Penal Code Bill and the Proceeds of Crime bill.

'The new ACJ law, when passed, will cure most of the anomalies and lacuna in the existing criminal laws of Adamawa state … The domestication of this law is very progressive, timely and in conformi-ty with international best practices and we sincere-ly hope that it will give life to the dream justice system that the legislators have in mind for Adamawa state.'

Maxwell Gidado, Ph.D, SAN, KSM, JP, former Attorney General of Adamawa State; Professor of Constitutional Law, Faculty of Law, Nasarawa State University, Keffi

'This is one of the best public hearings we have had as a House of Assembly given its potential impact for our people and our state.'

Hon Hassan Mamman, Member, Adamawa State House of Assembly

National Child’s Rights Implementation Committee holds 2018 retreat

RoLAC supported the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to hold a 3 day retreat for members of the National Child Rights Implementation Committee (NCRIC) from 29 July to 2 August in Kaduna. The NCRIC is a major structure in the implementation of the Child Rights Act (CRA) as outlined in Section 260 of the CRA and is charged with the man-date of popularising the provisions of the law and review-ing the state of implementation of the rights of the child in Nigeria. The NCRIC was revived in May 2018 after eight years of dormancy. The outcomes of the retreat were an annual work plan and nomination of relevant agencies to be included in the NCRIC.

The retreat was attended by 35 participants including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development who is the chairperson of the committee as well as the Commissioner of Women Affairs & Social Development Kaduna State. Other attendees included the newly elected Speaker of the National Children’s Parliament, representatives of Save the Children, and representatives of other relevant line MDAs.

The retreat would give members an “in-depth understanding of your roles and responsibilities as members of the NCRIC so that you will deliver effectively towards the implementation of the rights of the child in Nigeria,’’ said Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

Federal Government signs Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill into law

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the NFIU Bill into law on 11 July 2018. The Bill was assented after extensive advocacy involving the Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes Committee of the Senate, the Office of the Vice Presi-dent, the Federal Ministry Justice (FMOJ) and various civil society organisations, all supported by ROLAC.

Nigeria has now taken a first major step towards re-admission into the Egmont Group, the global body that manages and coordinates the operations of all financial intelligence units (FIUs) around the world. Nigeria was suspended from the Egmont Group in July 2017, partly as a result of the undefined status of the NFIU, and its ability to function as an autonomous organization. The NFIU has the responsibility to receive, manage, analyse and disseminate finan-cial intelligence to all relevant anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria and internationally.

Following Nigeria’s suspension from the Egmont Group last year, its access was limited in the area of international exchange on financial intelligence, which is detrimental to the security of the nation, as it grapples with insurgency, organized crime, money laundering and trafficking in persons.

According to Dr Walter Duru, Executive Director of Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), a foremost CSO in the advocacy for the independence of the NFIU: ‘‘… assenting to the NFIU Bill is a good development, but, that is not enough. Sending the name of a fit and proper person as head of the Unit to the National Assembly for consideration requires extreme urgency.’’ (This Day newspaper online ‘NFIU ACT: Danger not yet averted, MIIVOC warns, written by Bassey Inyang, 16 July 2018)

RoLAC is continuing to support CSO advocacy and awareness-raising activities towards ensuring that the newly backed NFIU quickly becomes fully functional so that Nigeria can be reinstated to the Egmont Group at the earliest opportunity.

Minister of Justice inaugurates the NACS M&E Committee

The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has inaugurat-ed a 17-member Monitoring and Implementation Committee (MIC) for the Implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The mandate of the committee, which is central to the implementation and oversight of the NACS include providing hands-on support to government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAS) in their efforts to adapt/adopt the NACS to ensure that MDAs contribute to the fight against corruption in a more coherent and coordinated way. The committee is also expected to suggest ways to better implement the NACS 2017–2021 and support capacity development of the MDAs to monitor their progress in the implementation of the NACS.

The members are drawn from the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Fed-eration, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Bureau of Public Service Re-form (BPSR) and the Public Complaint Commission (PCC). Also involved are the Federal Ministry of Information, Ministry of Communication Technolo-gy, Office of the Secretary to the Gov-ernment of the Federation, Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and civil society organisations. The secretariat of the committee will be situated at TUGAR.

In his address at the inauguration event, the HAGF reminded the committee’s members that their “mandate is to ensure that the Nation-al Anti-Corruption Strategy is fully implemented”. He solicited “the cooperation of all member of the committee as well as the commitment of relevant agencies to the implementa-tion of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS)” which was developed with support from ROLAC.

The inauguration of the monitoring and implementation committee is a significant milestone as it technically flags off the roll-out of the NACS and its implementation. ROLAC supported the development of the NACS Operational Plan, the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and the inauguration event. RoLAC will also support capacity building for members of the M&E committee.

ROLAC supports EFCC review of Strategic Plan 2013 - 2018

ROLAC has supported the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hold a retreat at which it reviewed the progress of its 2013—2018 Strategic Plan. The purpose of the retreat was essentially to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, successes and critical lessons learnt in the implementation of the Strategic Plan, with a view to taking corrective steps during the development of a follow-on strategic plan.

The 3-Day retreat was attended by 22 selected staff of the Commission, which explored options for addressing the observed challenges and weakness. Critical lessons from implementation of the strategy implementation were also identified and will be used in the following development process.

Key outcomes from the retreat include the need to review the strategy performance reporting framework, the need for a robust communications strategy to ensure popular buy-in and the setting up of a Strategic Plan Working Group to anchor the development of a follow-on strategic plan for the Commission

Anambra State Government set to implement anti-corruption strategy

Anambra State, with the support of ROLAC, has developed an Anambra State Anti-Corruption Strategy (ANSACS), becoming the second state in the country to own such a strategy. This document is derived from the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

The ANSACS provides a holistic frame-work and foundation for a system-driven approach towards the fight against cor-ruption in Anambra State. It sets out standardised guidelines in 5 broad areas: Prevention; Public Engagement; Ethical Re-orientation; Enforcement and Sanctions; and Asset Recovery and Proceeds of Crime. The strategy will guide the state government in deploying resources to its institutions to respond to corrup-tion vulnerabilities and better address corrupt practices wherever they are found.

A Strategy Development team drawn from all the key MDAs in the state with technical assistance from the RoLAC Programme produced the draft Strategic Plan, an Operational Plan and a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to track implementation. The strategy was validated by over 80 state officials including 50 Permanent Secretaries and Directors of the state’s various institutions.

The complete volume of the strategy, action plan and M&E documents were officially presented to the Anambra State Attorney General and Commissioners for Justice and that of Economic planning, budget and Development Partners on the 8th of August 2018. Both Commissioners confirmed the Governors commitment to the full implementation of the strategy and counts on ROLAC’s continued support. RoLAC is set to provide more technical support to the state Anti-corruption Implementation Committee when constituted as well as the state MDAs for a smooth implementation of the ANSACS.

'The impact of the Anti-Corruption Strategy development on me is that it has developed my capacity in monitoring programmes and projects; exposed me to selection and understanding of indicators for assessments; acquisition of skills for development of an M&E framework and strategy.'

Anereob Ephraim Jekwu, Post-Secondary Schools Management Board

'Participating in the development of the Anti-Corruption Strategy of Anambra State has developed my capacity and given me a deep insight on how to develop a well-meaning strategy; it will certainly help to entrench the fight against corruption in Anambra State. I am most grateful to RoLAC for having taken us this far.'

Dr. Uchechukwu Nelson Onyimbe, Dir. Public Health, Ministry of Health, Awka

You can download the June - August 2018 newsletter below.