Why we can’t im­ple­ment com­mu­nity ser­vice – FCT Chief Judge

Daily Trust - - LAW - By John Chuks Azu

The Chief Jus­tice of the FCT High Court, Jus­tice Ishaq Bello has iden­ti­fied the ab­sence of fund­ing for the non­im­ple­men­ta­tion of com­mu­nity ser­vice in crim­i­nal jus­tice ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Jus­tice Bello made this known dur­ing the visit of the del­e­ga­tion from a le­gal aid NGO, the Ci­ti­zens United for Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Er­rants (CURE) in Abuja re­cently.

He said de­spite the pro­vi­sion for com­mu­nity ser­vice in lieu of prison sentence for some of­fences in the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act, 2015, there was no bud­getary pro­vi­sion for the take-off of the pro­gramme.

He said the pro­gramme, which is part of global best prac­tices to sup­port prison de­con­ges­tion, would re­quire the es­tab­lish­ment of com­mu­nity cen­tres for doc­u­men­ta­tion of of­fend­ers, re­cruit­ment of pro­ba­tion of­fi­cers, and other lo­gis­tics.

"We have taken steps for the pro­vi­sion of bud­getary allocation to es­tab­lish com­mu­nity cen­tres and for wit­ness' funds in this year's budget. But this is a tran­si­tional pe­riod in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion of crim­i­nal jus­tice and there are bound to be teething prob­lems" he said.

Ear­lier, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of CURE, Sylvester Uhaa in­formed the Chief Judge that the NGO is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing ac­cess to jus­tice to many in­di­gent in­mates in Kuje, Suleja, and Keffi pris­ons and other parts of the coun­try free of charge.

He said be­tween 2014 and 2016, the NGO in­ter­vened and got the re­lease of 20 await­ing trial in­mates while 30 other cases are still be­ing han­dled.

He ap­pealed for ur­gent ac­tion to de­con­gest Pris­ons across the coun­try to ar­rest jail breaks, cit­ing the Suleja prison, which was built with a ca­pac­ity for 260 in­mates, but now hold­ing 440 in­mates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.