The conference, which holds annually, is aimed at brainstorming on ideas and strategies for engendering effective justice system delivery across Nigeria. The Network of Justice Reform Team is made up of State Justice Reform teams from 26 States in Nigeria, including Enugu State. Father Ambrose Ekeroku OCD, Barr Mrs. Offiah SAN, and Barr. Nnenna Nwomeh represented Enugu State Justice Reform Team (ESJRT) at the Conference. There were 7 observer States in attendance. The observing States were drawn from States who were yet to inaugurate a Justice Reform team. At the conference, participants shared concerns and areas of reform arising from the implementation of various State versions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law. Father Ambrose and the other representatives of ESJRT made presentations on the progress made with the implementation of the ACJL in Enugu State. Enugu State was not only adjudged to have the best version of the ACJL but was also noted to be ahead of other States in implementing the Law. Participants requested for copies of Enugu State’s ACJL and the simplified version developed specifically for the ordinary masses.
We must briefly give credit for this feat to our Donors, Misean Cara, for providing CAPIO with the resources (grant) to implement the ACJL. CAPIO is currently installing recording devices in all police stations in Enugu State, for use in obtaining confessional statements from suspects. The installation of these devices is intended to eliminate the infamous practice of brutalizing suspects in order to obtain forced confessional statements from them. CAPIO is also equipping some courtrooms in Enugu State with DVD-players and LCD screen monitors for viewing of confessional statements in court. If confessional statements are obtained voluntarily using these measures, it will go a long way in curbing the practice of trial within trial, which has no doubt put a clog in the wheel of expeditious justice delivery.
The Federal Justice Reform Team stated during the conference that they have developed a protocol on Visits to the police stations by Magistrates and a policy document on Justice. State Justice Reforms were enjoined to develop action plans on how to implement the policy in their respective States.