Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, on behalf of the panel on implementation of justice reform said over the weekend in Abuja that with the senate president presiding, the senate began clause by clause consideration of the committee report on the bill last Tuesday and is expected to conclude it next week.
The ACJ Bill is one of the most important justice sector reform bills pending before the National Assembly.
The house of representatives passed the bill in 2013 after which the senate introduced additional innovative provisions aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice in the country. The bill proposes to unify the procedure for administration of criminal justice across the country and will replace the present criminal procedure codes applicable in the northern and southern parts of the country. It contains guidelines for sentencing, bail, arrest protocols, prison decongestion, alternatives to imprisonment and plea bargaining.
It also provides for electronic recording of court proceedings as well as establishment of central criminal justice database, witness protection and restorative justice techniques.
Stakeholders of the Criminal Justice Administration including ministries of justice, Nigeria Bar Association, development partners, police and other agencies of criminal justice have participated in the development of the bill. All are looking forward to its passage by the senate.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN, has assured on several occasions that he will recommend the bill for presidential assent as soon as it is passed by the National Assembly.
All eyes are therefore on the senate to complete the good work it has already started.
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