Justice Summit Should Address Delay In Trials, Congestion In Correctional Centres – Nasarawa State Solicitor-General

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Barr. Isaac Edoh (standing with the microphone during a function).

Mediaage NG News – ABUJA, Nigeria (Thursday 25th April, 2024)

The Solicitor General, Nasarawa State Ministry of Justice, Isaac Edoh is of the opinion that the fallout from the National Justice Summit should address delay in trials of cases, congestion in correctional centres and improvement in the entire judicial system in the country.

Speaking with Mediaage, he also said there are problems of Judges giving different opinions when it comes to judgments delivered. When these are met, he there will be greater trust in the judiciary, he revealed.

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“I believe we are going to sanitise the judiciary. There is no perfect society but, ideally, there are certain things expected of a nation. At least, things should be seen good to some extent, to avoid some criticism, he began while speaking prior to the opening day of the National Justice Summit.

“Essentially, what we had was a technical session but, for us to look at the draft policy on justice 2024. We aimed towards an improved system of justice delivery in the country. It is all inclusive, irrespective of your religious background, ethnicity and gender. It’s all encompassing.

“We want to have a system whereby, wherever you find yourself in the country as a Nigerian, we will be able to implement the policy the way it ought to be. It’s the stakeholders and other entities that need to implement, that is the Ministry of Justice, both at the federal and state levels, the law enforcement agents, civil societies, Journalists and Non-Govenmental Organisations (NGOs). They need to play their parts to ensure that justice is done to every citizen of Nigeria, irrespective of background or location.

“I’m a solicitor and prosecutor, I’ve attained and held some key positions in the Ministry of Justice. I was a one time Director, Civil Litigation, Director, Public Prosecution (DPP) before I became the Solicitor General of the state. I discovered that in the course of my job as a lawyer, your duty is to prosecute the matter or defend the civil matter. You cannot be a lawyer and witness at the same time.

“It is the civil society, individuals that are witnesses to strengthen your case, including the law enforcement officer whose duty is to investigate a crime. But, sometimes, when you are prosecuting a case, witnesses are no where to be found and some of these witnesses are Investigative Police Officers (IPOs) who might have gone on transfer and their presence needed. To process their movement back may not be easy.

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“Imagine a police officer who has been transferred to a place like Lagos from Nasarawa state. Asking him to come and witness in court on what he did as an investigator, sometimes, he may not be willing to come, considering the high cost of transportation because, he may not want to come by road. Who foots this bill if he agrees to come. Also, due to the nature of their jobs there, it could be difficult to pull and bring them here”, he said.

He also disclosed that some victims of crime are not willing to present themselves, probably, because of the stigma, especially when it has to do with a rape case.

“They might have compromised and not want to give a statement because, it is possible they don’t want the identity of the victim to be publicised. In some cases, both parties might have agreed to settle out of court without informing the prosecutor. Since you cannot be a lawyer, as well as witness, you will be handicapped.

He asked for more collaboration between the ministry and law enforcement organisations, including journalists and civil societies. He urged the government to increase the budgetary allocation to enable faster operations in the judicial sector.

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