The Federal Executive Council yesterday endorsed a memo on justice sector reform policy aimed at engendering fair, efficient and transparent administration of justice.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, intended to promote speedy determination of cases, was a product of this reform.
Malami said the intention was not only to work together to ensure speedy and quality administration of justice, but also to promote access to justice for all, stressing that the reformed package would turn things for the better as far as administration of justice was concerned.
“A policy that has been keyed into in respect of which buy-in of the executive, judiciary and the legislature. A policy that is all encompassing as it relates to institutional accommodation. So, the memo was presented in that respect. The three arms of government indeed, ministries, departments and agencies have been over time working on a roadmap- that was a product of that policy….What we had by way of legislation in relation to Correctional Service Act is indeed a product of that understanding and the same thing with executive orders that were put in place,” he said.
Malami said another memo relating to the amendment of the Geneva Convention was approved by the council so that it would be in line with international best practices.
He said the law, which was accommodated in the country’s laws under Geneva Convention Act Cap G3 of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, needed to be amended since Nigeria is a signatory to the statute which was enacted in 1949. He said the law was designed to provide protection to prisoners of wars, people involved in armed conflicts, and associated infractions.
“With emerging trends, the need arises for us to amend our laws. Greater access to justice should be accorded to prisoners of wars in cases of breach.
“So, at the end of the day, the jurisdiction of which Court could entertain cases of breaches against the interest of prisoners of war, people involved in conflicts among others is expanded to allow for greater access to justice….
“The intention is to make necessary amendment to our laws in terms of rights of people involved in wars, rights of people involved in conflicts to ensure that at the end of the day, they are not unduly affected or prejudiced to such an extend it did not go outside the conventional tolerable practices internationally,” he said.