The Chief Judge of Kogi, Justice Nasir Ajanah, on Friday called for constant training of judicial officers to keep them abreast of criminal procedure laws and ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

Ajanah made the call in an address delivered at a workshop on Kogi State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, organised for High and lower courts judges, in Lokoja.

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The Chief Judge said that the enactment and signing into law in December, 2017, of the domesticated Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 threw up a lot of issues in respect of criminal procedure law.

He said that the workshop was necessitated by such issues, adding that the resource persons were drawn from the Nigerian Law School and Abuja Judiciary.

Ajanah explained that the position of the Criminal Procedure Code of Northern Nigeria of 1960, which was hitherto applicable in the state, became hazy under the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

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He said that there were numerous improvements on the criminal procedure built into the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to improve the administration of criminal justice.

According to him, some of the improvements provided for, in the law, include non-criminalisation of civil wrongs or breach of contract, electronic recording of confessional statements and mandatory quarterly reports to the Attorney-General of arrests made.

Others are returns by the state Comptroller General of Prisons to the Chief Judge every 90 days, time limit for issuance of legal advice and inability of preliminary objections to stall substantive criminal cases, among many others.

The Chief Judge noted that it was the first time a criminal law would talk about the rights and interests of the suspect, adding that there was a clear distinction between a suspect and a convict.

“Another improvement is that the degrading name of accused, as used for a suspect, has been changed to a more respectable name of defendant. It is normal these days that once a person is called an accused, he becomes stigmatized in the society.”

He explained that sourcing the resource persons from the Law School was borne out of the belief that the Law School currently had the best minds when it comes to teaching the practical aspect of the law profession.


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