Lagos, NGO deploy app to speed up justice delivery

As part of efforts to speed up the delivery of justice in Nigeria and reduce the number of awaiting-trial persons, the Lagos State government and Citizens’ Gavel, a civic tech non-governmental organization (NGO), have deployed a tech platform called ‘Justice Clock’.

Citizens’ Gavel, in a statement by its communications associate, Taiwo Makanjuola, explained that the platform is designed as an online case management platform to help achieve the objectives of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law in Nigeria and provide a case monitoring platform for actors in the justice sector to include the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Police, Correctional Centres, that can stand at par with international best practices.

According to the statement, the web-based platform serves as a central database and provides an easy-to-use information-sharing feature amongst stakeholders, which “will aid the reduction of the high percentage of awaiting-trial persons, and introduce/manage non-custodial sentencing measures”.

The tech platform, it said, was deployed with the support from the Open Society Justice Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and in partnership with the Attorney General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo.

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Onigbanjo described the platform as a remarkable development that would be pivotal in achieving improved justice delivery process.

He noted that the issuance of legal advice has remained a confrontational issue as litigants recurrently complain that case files stay too long in office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) without legal advice.

“So, we have decided to deploy technology to further improve the process of issuing legal advice,” the statement quoted him saying.

He further stated that technology has been identified as one of the developmental processes for effective justice delivery which is why the government partnered with Citizens’ Gavel on the deployment of the new application.

“We recognize the importance of technology and it is in light of this that we have in partnership with Citizens’ Gavel deployed a case management solution to improve on the operational efficiency of the DPP’s office,” Onigbanjo said.

The team lead of Citizens’ Gavel, Nelson Olanipekun, explained that the development of Justice Clock as a web-based solution platform became imperative due to the need to improve access to justice, eliminate pre-trial problems, and delay in issuance of legal advice.

“With this tech-platform, access to justice, challenges with pre-trial detention and the low-paced justice delivery process will be improved, especially amidst the Covid-19 wave,” he said.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Olayinka Adeyemi, reiterated that the new platform would improve efficiency and service delivery while solving avoidable problems associated with issuance of legal advice.

“We would not fail on the timeline given for issuance of legal advice as it would enhance our service delivery. The deployment of this tech-platform will no doubt go a long way in revolutionizing access to justice and rapidly increase justice delivery,” she said.

Citizens’ Gavel is a not-for-profit, human rights-focused organization with the aim of protecting fundamental human rights and providing legal assistance for indigent persons.

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