Chief Judge (CJ), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Salisu Garba, on Monday, said implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) helped to prevent a total collapse of detention centres across the country while the strike by the court workers lasted.
Justice Salisu made this known during in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Pre-trial Issues and the Effective Implementation of the ACJA for FCT Magistrates.
He said the Act helped to alleviate the plight of detainees during the two-month strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JUSUN, which began the industrial action on April 6 to demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary, was suspended the strike on June 9.
The chief judge recalled that within the last two months of JUSUN strike, a lot of pre-trial issues took the centre stage, especially as crimes continue to soar in the country.
“A lot of arrests were made by the police on different allegations of crime. Issues of bail and remand became matters of concern.
“At different jurisdictions, the ingenious provisions of ACJA which allow Magistrates and Judges to carry out visits to detention facilities became handy.
“And it is through this process that many suspects were granted bail, set free or ordered to be remanded.,” he said.
According to him, this saved detention facilities across the country, especially police stations, the challenges of implosion that the strike would have caused if not for the innovation in the law.
The CJ, who noted that the nation’s criminal justice system had witnessed monumental improvement since the introduction of ACJA in 2015, stated the most of the problems currently being witnessed from arrest to prosecution would be gravely reduced if the law was religiously apply.
He said that the workshop was intended to improve participants understanding and horn their skills on the workings of ACJA on pre-trial issues, noting that rights of suspects would be better preserved where the provisions of the ACJA were well applied.
Also speaking, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, in his presentation, titled: “Wrongful arrest and detention,” regretted the prevalence of such practices among the nation’s law enforcement agents despite the lofty provisions in the nation’s laws that prohibit such arbitrary use of powers.
“As I said earlier, nobody respects the law of Nigeria. Whatever remedies that there may be, as pronounced by our courts in favour of victims of wrongful arrests and detentions, will always be a barren victory.
“This is because in Nigeria, it is much more difficult to enforce judgments and orders than getting judgments in courts.
“In other cases, you get judgments devoid of justice,” Okutepa said.