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National Assembly proposes Police, Prison decentralisation

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THE joint leadership of the National Assembly has proposed complete decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Correctional Service by moving the two items from the Exclusive List of the constitution to the Concurrent List.

President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila made this known in a one-day roundtable on ‘Reform of the Criminal Justice System of Nigeria’ organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies in Abuja on Wednesday.

Gbajabiamila, who spoke through a member of the House Uzuwagbo Ugonna, said every aspect of the country’s criminal justice system, including its personnel, needed immediate legislative overhauling and reforms.

“The scope of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System, beginning with the Police, the courts, correctional service, our criminal laws and codes, including human personnel that manage our criminal justice institutions, need reforms,” Gbajabiamila said.

“As legislators, we will not be opposed to amending the constitution to remove the establishment and management of Correctional Service Centres from the Exclusive Legislative List and add it to the Concurrent List.

“This, I believe, will fast-track and decongest our federal correctional centres and enable willing states to provide better correctional service centres with better living conditions for their people.”

“The autonomy being advocated by our judicial officers across the nation should be granted without delay, to encourage justice without favour. We should consider the creation of special criminal courts,” Gbajabiamila further stated.

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Lawan, who was represented by a member of the red chamber Olamilekan Adeola said no country would make any meaningful progress without a productive criminal justice system, adding that there was a need to strengthen the system for enhanced and effective service delivery.

“No society grows without a productive criminal justice system, considering the additional role the sector plays in maintaining order and in fostering peace.

“With rising insecurity, we must be ready to strengthen the justice system and be bold enough to ensure that criminals go through diligent prosecution. This is to serve as deterrence to others, reduce wrongdoings, promoting peace and enhancing growth and development,” he said.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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