Nigeria

Lagos chief judge inaugurates bondsmen scheme to curtail ‘professional sureties’

The Chief Judge of Lagos state, Justice Kazeem Alogba on Monday inaugurated the Bondsmen Scheme for eliminating sharp practices by ‘professional sureties’ with six law firms and two corporate firms, 14 years after the scheme was passed into law by the state House of Assembly.

The Chief Judge of Lagos state, Justice Kazeem Alogba on Monday inaugurated the Bondsmen Scheme for eliminating sharp practices by ‘professional sureties’ with six law firms and two corporate firms, 14 years after the scheme was passed into law by the state House of Assembly.

The scheme is also intended to prevent suspects from jumping bail and becoming flight risks.

The induction course for the newly appointed bondsmen and registry staff of the high court held at the Lagos State Judiciary Recreational/Training Centre, GRA, Ikeja.

Speaking at the ceremony, Justice Alogba described the event as an epoch-making occasion in view of the fact that the judiciary has been working on the scheme for some years past, noting that whenever it seems there is progress, something will happen again and there will be a lull.

He said the general public and stakeholders in the criminal administration of the justice system have been waiting eagerly to see how the scheme will work out.

Justice Alogba said the journey for the implementation of the scheme has been a tough one and that the selection of the participating firms has not been easy, adding that a number of firms who showed interest have fallen along the line when they were not found worthy.

The chief judge commended the participating firms for forging ahead with the judiciary to ensure that the scheme came to fruition.

“So it is encouraging that those of you selected have agreed to go ahead. We know what the financial implications would be, we know what the logistics problems will be. So it is encouraging that there are some willing to forge ahead with us in this scheme with respect to criminal administration of justice”, he stressed.

He also commended the Chairman of the Bondsmen and Recovery of Reconnaissance Committee, Justice Grace Onyeabo for being painstaking and consistent in her effort to make the scheme a reality.

In her remarks at the occasion, Justice Onyeabo who is also the Admin Judge Ikeja, said two high courts and magistrate courts each have been designated for the pilot scheme for the operation of bondsmen in criminal matters in the state.

Justice Onyeabo said the courts have been having problems with ‘professional sureties’ who often time use fake and cloned documents and whose addresses couldn’t be traced.

“But with the scheme and other developments like the NIN registration, the BVN and the criminal justice system, we now have all the data that we need to trace people. So it becomes easier to trace anybody who may have problem with the law.

“The bail bond system will help us so that the person who has deposited money s bondsman and knows that if he does not bring that person on adjourned date, he is going to forfeit the money, he would find that person and bring him to court”, she said.

Justice Onyeabo said the scheme also has the effect of eliminating prison congestion and ensure those granted bail don’t become flight risk.

Pointing out that the scheme is the first in the federation, she said many states have been waiting for Lagos to commence implementation to see how it will work.

She expressed confidence that the bondmen scheme having worked in other jurisdiction will equally work in Lagos.

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