* To provide Uniform Sentencing Policies and more Justice Mechanisms
The Senate has passed the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022, as amended.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022(SB.920) which was read the third time and passed, provides for uniform Sentencing policies and more restorative justice mechanisms, such as – Victim Offender Mediation; Suspended Sentence and Probation; and Community Service, etc.
The passage was sequel to the presentation of the report by the Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Ekiti Central led Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
In his presentation, Senator Bamidele said that the Senate in its amendment changed the ” Establishment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee to ” Establishment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Council”
Senator Bamidele said that the Observations and findings were “That stakeholders unanimously supported the passage of the Bill in view of its strategic relevance to the reform in the justice sector as it is one of the policy thrusts of this administration;
“That to entrench the culture of fair, efficient and effective criminal justice service delivery in Nigeria and to improve outcomes, through active partnership, it is imperative that the extant Act be holistically reviewed with a view to making all-encompassing provisions, targeted at addressing all the inherent challenges in the course of its as implementation with respect to some judicial pronouncements on the subject matter;
“That that the establishment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Council is in line with what is obtainable in other jurisdictions, especially, the United States of America where there is Bureau of Justice and Criminal Justice Board in the United Kingdom, etc.;
“That the contemplation for the establishment of the Council should not be perceived as a new statutory body, as there is in existence, the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC), established pursuant to the extant Act and funded through the Federal
Ministry of Justice. The legislative intent of this Bill is merely to substitute the word “Committee” with the word “Council”. This is to ensure operational efficiency of the ACJMC and enable it to access its Capital funding from the Federal Ministry of Finance. This contemplation is also in line with the advice of the Federal Ministry Finance, which is of the opinion that statutory budgetary provisions cannot be released directly to Committees, as assignments of Committees are perceived to be Ad-Hoc in nature with limited or specific timeframe. However, this is not the intention behind the establishment of the ACJMC, in view of its strategic role as it pertains to administration criminal justice in the country;
“That in jurisdictions where similar bodies exist, they are empowered to provide directions on operational delivery, aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, by bringing together, criminal justice agencies to support joint work, targeted at improving service delivery in order to reduce crime, recidivism and unnecessary confinement. All these are well streamlined and structured in the Bill for the promotion of safe and fair criminal justice system for the enhancement of quick dispensation of justice;
“That the proposed Bill has been painstakingly structured and clearly drawn-out to address the plethora of shortcomings of the extant Act as well as make all-encompassing provisions in line with global best practices to ensure that we consolidate on the gains/achievements the country has recorded in our justice sector in the past few years;
“That the contemplated Council will not pose additional financial burden on the Government as the existing Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee is already being funded through the Federal Ministry of Justice Budget. This clarification is necessary for the avoidance of doubt; and
“That the enactment of this Bill will guarantee and ensure regulatory mechanism and framework to properly oversee the implementation of the Act by ensuring effective criminal justice administration in the country.”
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