The need for NationalAssembly to review the Criminal Justice Act
The recent passage of the bill by the Lagos State House of Assembly amending the Criminal Justice Act must have been one of the most welcomed piece of legislation by the members.
The provision in the amendment barring security agencies from parading suspects before the media is surely a welcome development. It will help in save guarding the reputation of the suspects.
Though some media outlets try as much as possible to protect the suspect’s identity by blurring the face(s) or capture them from behind among many other tactics that are not often enough to protect such people.
The bill further stipulates that a policeman could only arrest without a warrant if he reasonably suspects that a person is unlawfully in possession of firearm or any other dangerous instrument.
This part of the bill will reduce the rate of harassment by police officers or agencies. Usually, a suspect starts collecting his or her share of harassment from the scene of the crime before taking it to the station where one receives the rest.
Another section of the bill also banned the police or any other agency from apprehending a person “in lieu of any other person in a criminal matter.” The bill reinforces that a person who is arrested “shall be given reasonable facilities for obtaining legal advice, bail or making arrangement for defence or release.
This way, the legal framework can operate without any interference unlike what was obtained in the past where the police station serves as the apprehenders’ court, judge, lawyer, and prosecutor.
The bill specifies that a suspect should be “accorded humane treatment with the right to dignity of the person; not to be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment; be brought before the court as prescribed by this law or any other written law, or be released conditionally or unconditionally.
I will like to appeal to the National Assembly to take after their Lagos State counterparts and review the Criminal Justice Act so that the innocent would not continue to be punished for the offence he knows nothing about.
Mujahideen Adamu Ali mujahideenadamu2018@gmail. com