The International Federation of Women Lawyers Nigeria (FIDA) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation has strengthened the capacity of no fewer than 50 female lawyers and Members of the Bar, Bench, in the Criminal Justice Sector on the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, (ACJL 2019) and other anti-corruption legislative frameworks in Nigeria.
Speaking at the one-day event, the Kano State Program Officer, FIDA /Mac Arthur Project, Bar. Fatima Ahmad said that as part of the Nigeria 2.0 Project, “this activity was organized for its members from across the Bar, Bench, and the Criminal Justice Sector to increase the possibility of effective utilization and strengthening of the criminal justice system.
“It is also aimed at improving the government’s ability to effectively respond to corruption by strengthening the capacity of female legal practitioners to actively enforce core elements of the ACJL and other anti-corruption legislative frameworks in Kano to reduce corruption.”
Ahmed added that FIDA has always been a gender equity and social inclusive (GESI) – transformative organization, which is part of the On Nigerian goal to see how GESI enhances anti-corruption, accountability, transparency, and participation outcomes.
The Deputy Dean, Faculty of Law, Bayero University Kano, Dr. Nuhu Idris described the activity as a welcome development and stressed the need to enhance the capacity of legal professionals on Anti-corruption Legal frameworks in Nigeria.
He said 80 percent of corrupt practices in the judicial system are being carried out by the administrative support staff of the judiciary which tends to dent the image of the sector.
“It is necessary that legal professionals are periodically trained to actively enforce core elements of the ACJL and other legislative legal frameworks in Nigeria.
“About 20 percent of corruption indices are from the Judiciary while 80 percent are from the administration.
“The figure is too high because it is an institution that is expected to have zero tolerance for corruption,” Dr. Idris added.
He noted that a judge is a person of high caliber and should be respected and expected to be trustworthy.
“All mechanisms for the disciplinary action are there but not put to use. Most of the judicial staff are going unpunished not because there is no law in place to punish them but because the political will to punish them is lacking. That is why people are looking at the judiciary as a system without checks.
“The way out to prevent corrupt practices in the Judiciary is the autonomy of the sector. Let the Judiciary be absolutely independent, their financial autonomy must also be granted if we want to see changes.
According to Dr. Idris, The ACJL has come with a lot of innovations in the criminal justice system which makes it important that legal professionals are trained for proper utilization of the Law.
He added that Kano State is yet to fully implement the provisions of the ACJL, citing the case of late Hanifa Abubakar where the suspected killers were taken to the Magistrate court by police with a first information report (FIR).
“If the police want to take such a person to court, they should not do that with FIR but go with an application that the police are conducting an investigation on this person and so we need time to complete the investigation because, by the provision of the constitution, police cannot detain a suspect in the cell more than two days, so, they want the court to remand him for so and so days to enable us to conclude our investigation.
“Kano is yet to come to terms with the provision of the law. They are still trying and battling to come to terms with the provision,” Idris however noted that more activities and step-down training should be conducted for the criminal justice sector.