By: Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
In Nigeria, there is the quest for an effective administration of criminal justice system. Aside this quest too, there is the challenge of insecurity against the background of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) in section 14(2)(b) that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’. Considering the deemed causes of in-effective administration of criminal justice system and the continuous insecurity in Nigeria, this paper is of the firm view that there is need for the appropriate government’s authority to probe and or monitor and investigate government’s institutions and their administering heads.
From the definition on the uslegal.com, an online website, ‘Administration of criminal justice’ refers to the performance of activities such as detection, apprehension, detention, pretrial release, post-trial release, prosecution adjudication, correctional, supervision, or rehabilitation of accused persons or criminal offenders or the collection. Storage and dissemination of criminal history record information’. In my humble view, the administration of criminal justice system involves all government’s agencies such as the police, and other agencies in charge of arresting and prosecuting a suspect; the prison service, the courts, lawyers as prosecutors and defence and in my humble view, including whistle blowers, informant and complainants. Despite these structures, Nigeria is still in a deep state of insecurity all through the nation. This indeed is very unfortunate and pathetic. Despite all these structures in the administration of criminal justice system, a lot are still going wrong. Take for instance, to call the police for protection or to lodge complaints, you as a citizen or complainant must be ready to provide money to facilitate both investigation and due and effective prosecution of your complaints (Police in this case refers to all government’s agencies to whom complaints can be made without any limitation of definition). Also, the rate at which boko haram members and herdsmen or gun men have been reported to have been killing Nigerian soldiers or security personnel and citizens is very alarming and annoying! Furthermore, Nigerian Prisons warders are expected to provide suspects or accused persons or defendants in courts at any adjourned dates. The question is who fuels the vehicle? Is it the authority in charge or the warders themselves?!
Furthermore, government has salaries and allowances and other emoluments as well as due promotion in service as incentives to encourage efficient and effective discharge of functions by all these agencies. The question is: are these entitlements being given to those who are entitled to them?! I humbly request that all those who head each of these government’s agencies should be probed and or monitored and investigated with immediate effect. Those who are junior officers in the service are not in position to complain else, they would be in serious trouble or inordinate transfer to an in-conducive working environment followed by queries that might likely lead to dismissal. And there is no security for those officers who are whistle blowers in the service. All these bother about corruption in the system. So, I am of the firm view that where the corruption in the system continues, there might be no effective administration of criminal justice system and the insecurity being experienced across the country are likely to be worsen. Budgets slated for different functions and purposes have been embezzled by some of the top officers or superiors. Those officers entitled to promotion have remained not promoted for as more periods than when they are due for the said promotion and all their entitlements are still being held on to or diverted or converted into private pockets or private purposes and there cannot be complaint. Why?! I believe that the alleged corruption in those or some of those government’s institutions must have been responsible for the insecurity in the country because, when staff have to commit their personal and or personal money to finance public or official functions, then, it means, there would be no effective discharge of functions. No security officer would confront arms and or ammunition without being properly protected as a human being. More so, some of these officers are aware that those funds that are designated for all these functions have already been embezzled by their boss in office and they cannot complain.
Finally, I am of the firm view that for there to be an effective administration of criminal justice system, and for the insecurity in the nation to be conquered, there is need for probe of all government’s institutions and their controllers or administrators who are the supervisory heads of those agencies especially those in charge of the staff welfare, including those in charge of the courts’ system.