• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria plans juvenile justice reform system

2023: AGF Malami declares for governor in Kebbi

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said plans are in top gear to put in place structures for juvenile justice reform in the country.

He made this known in Abuja on Tuesday during virtual interactive session with Attorneys-General and heads of courts of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The minister said the intervention was imperative considering the vulnerability and susceptibility of juveniles and children deprived of liberty in locked facilities, correctional centres, borstal homes, including those detained with their parents or caregivers, and those detained on national security grounds to contracting the coronavirus due to the congested environment they are detained in.

He said the plan is strategic in the attainment of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He noted that the plans were aimed at promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and “provide justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.

“I wish to underpin the importance of this intervention exercise which is aptly focused on juveniles, by stating its relevance to the effective implementation of some of the provisions of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 especially section 35, that clearly stipulates provisions on juvenile offenders,” he stressed.

Malami said the intervention will also serve as an impetus to the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Childs Rights Act, 2003 that promotes the principle of detention as a last resort and use of diversionary alternatives for children in conflict with the law.

On his part, the Chairman of the PCCSRD and the Chief Judge ofbtge Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, in his welcome address assured that the Custodial and Non-Custodial Sentencing Practice Direction, 2020 will be signed into law in October.

According to the Chief Judge, the second phase of the Correctional Service Centres decongestion exercise will be a blueprint for the initiation of a longer and more sustainable system to reduce arbitrary incarceration of juvenile by adopting diversionary measure in the justice system in Nigeria

”Iam glad to inform you all that the said Sentencing Guideine will be signed by me and issued in October, 2020 as the Federal Capital Territory Courts (Custodial and Non-Custodial Sentencing) Practice Direction, 2020.

”It is my belief, that the said practice direction, will go a long way in addressing some of the concerns of juvenile inmates which aligns with international standards, as contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Child Rights Act, 2003 that promotes the adoption of non-custodial measures, while reinforcing detention as an option of last resort for juvenile offenders”.