A CRITIQUE OF THE NIGERIAN ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2015 AND CHALLENGES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACT

Rose Ohiama UGBE, Anne Uruegi AGI, Justine Bekehnabeshe UGBE

Abstract


The passage into law of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, by the Good luck Jonathan Administration is viewed as a major breakthrough in the criminal justice regime in Nigeria. The law which repeals the Criminal Procedure Act1 which applied in the South and the Criminal Procedure (Northern States) Act2 and the Administration of Justice Commission Act3 which applied in the North, further merges the main provisions of the CPA, the Criminal Procedure (Northern States) Act and CPC into one principal Federal Enactment, which applies to all Federal Courts across the Federation as well as all courts of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja4, but it does not apply to a Court Martial5. To this end, the ACJA is to be uniformly applied throughout the nation where law enforcement agencies created by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) or other Federal legislation are empowered to operate. The provisions of the Act reveal that there is a conscious effort to reduce delays in the criminal process and to ensure the rights of the defendants. The Act goes a long way to put in place progressive measures which if properly implemented will greatly enhance the criminal justice system in Nigeria and enable enforcement and rehabilitation agencies effectively fight crime and rehabilitate offenders respectively. However, certain loopholes in the provisions of the Act such as failure of ACJA to make specific provisions relating to women and children as found in some International instruments, failure to make provision for the Criminal Procedure Law to be applicable in courts that are not federal courts having repealed and merged Criminal Procedure Act and Code and optional nature of electronic recording of confessional statements etc. as well as challenges that may affect the due implementation of the Act have been observed. Some of the challenges are: Funding, Institutional challenges as well as reluctance to depart from entrenched systems inter alia. These will be discussed in this paper and some Recommendations will be made. Some of the recommendations include: Demonstration of political will by the government by providing adequate funding for implementation of the Act and .readiness of all stakeholders to implement the Act inter alia.

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