The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Abuja, Justice Ishaq Bello has commended the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for facilitating the adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Bello made the commendation when he led members of the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion to pay a courtesy call on the Governor at the Government House, Enugu.
He described the adoption of the Criminal Justice Administration Act as ‘revolutionary.’
The FCT Chief Judge told the Governor that the committee was in Enugu in exercise of its “sole mandate of visiting Prisons to release inmates who have option of fines associated to their various sentences and also to review cases of inmates that have stayed over five years awaiting trials before various courts.”
He said that “in a situation where they have overstayed the period of sentences they were convicted, we take instant decisions to let them go.”
Uniform criminal justice
The jurist advocated a uniform criminal justice regime act to be adopted by the respective component states without affecting the very substance intendment of the act.
Justice Bello stressed that Governor Ugwuanyi deserved to be congratulated for the adoption of the act in Enugu State.
“Your Excellency, we are very happy that you have made it possible; that you are among the states that have adopted the act. Many others are following suit because it is in that act that you find the road that will expedite delivery, eliminate delays, among others,” he said.
The Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Priscilla Emehelu had told Governor Ugwuanyi that the delegation deemed it necessary to pay him a courtesy visit before embarking on the assignment because of his interest and commitment in ensuring justice to people who are kept away in prisons unlawfully.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi welcomed the FCT Chief Judge and other members of the committee, saying ”his administration appreciates the efforts of the Nigerian government in fast-tracking the decongestion of prisons.”
The Governor stated that his administration has in many ways supported the rehabilitation of prison infrastructure in the state, to improve the environment.
He stated that the government has also assisted in the payment of fees to lawyers to represent inmates who could not afford legal representation.