NBA sensitizes activists over new law on arrest, detention, bail

The Yola branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has held a sensitization workshop for leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Adamawa State on innovations in the new Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).

The law which came to be almost two years ago (December 2018) in Adamawa State contains innovations which confer greater dignity to citizens brought before the law and seek to hasten the delivery of justice, but the law is yet to be fully understood by citizens.

The NBA, also aiming to awaken people to their newly guaranteed rights under the ACJL 2018 so they could fight for such rights and hasten the greater implementation of the otherwise poorly implemented law, brought CSO leaders from around the state capital, Yola as well as Numan, Mubi and other major communities to Yola where resource persons dissected the law and how to make the best of its provisions.

One of the resource persons, Barr Kowoabo Takoni, who presented an overview of the ACJL 2018, dwelt on how it provides that nobody should be arrested in place of any unavailable target, how neither police nor civil defence personnel or any security operative could arrest anyone for purely civil matters such as failure to pay rent or repay a financial debt, and how any security personnel arresting you must give a reason for such arrest.

She also spoke on how women now have equal right with men to bail anyone needing bail, and how court process cannot now be adjourned for reason that a defender is not in court on the excuse of ill-health or travel.

She told the CSO leaders that thorough knowledge of the provisions of the ACJL 2018 would help them in their task of standing for otherwise helpless citizens who go to them for succour.

Another resource person at the ‘Sensitization and Awareness Creation Workshop for CSOs on Adamawa State ACJL 2018,’ Barr Abdulrahman Illiyasu who gave a background to the enactment of the law, explained that it was initiated by the Northern Governors Forum to review the decades-old Penal Code of the North and that it was domesticated by Adamawa State in December 2018.

He however said implementation in the state faces hitches not effectively addressed because the committee, comprising the chief judge, attorney general, and representatives of Justice Sector institutions, which the law stipulates to monitor its implementation, is not yet in place.

“The Adamawa State chief judge has appointed members of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee but they are yet to be inaugurated,” he said, reiterating that the ACJL cannot be fully implemented until the monitoring committee comes into operation.

The Yola sensitization workshop was organised by the NBA with support from the European Union and the British Council.

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