Falana To Malami- Release Electronic Records Of Looters

Falana Writes Buhari, Seeks End To Illegal Arrests Of Nigerians, Foreigners
Femi Falana

Renowned rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has written to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), demanding he releases a certified true copy of the electronic database of records of arrests made by all law enforcement agencies.

He also wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, requesting the CJN to ensure proper monitoring of criminal cases in Nigeria under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

Last week, Falana wrote to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, asking her to designate Chief Magistrates to conduct monthly inspection of all police stations and other detention centres in Lagos State as stipulated by the ACJA.

The senior advocate, in his letter addressed to the AGF, stated that his request was based on the provisions of Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act.

He also noted that the AGF was required to supply the requested information within seven days as stipulated by the FoI Act.

Falana noted that the AGF was, by virtue of Section 29(5) of the ACJA, required to establish an electronic and manual database of all records of arrests made by all enforcement agencies at the federal and state levels in the country.

The letter read, “As you are no doubt aware, Section 29 (1) of the of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 has mandated the Inspector-General of Police and heads of all agencies authorised by law to remit quarterly to the Attorney General of the Federation a record of all arrests made with or without warrant in relation to federal offences within Nigeria.

“We have noted that the office of the AGF is required by Section 29 (5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to establish an electronic and manual database of all records of arrests made by all enforcement agencies at the federal and state levels in the country.

“In exercise of my right to freedom of information, guaranteed by Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby apply for an electronic copy of the records of arrests made and judgments delivered by all courts in Nigeria from May 2015 to December 2017.

“Take notice that you are mandatorily required to supply the requested information within seven days of the receipt of this letter by virtue of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”

In his letter, addressed to the CJN, Falana noted that Onnoghen had demonstrated determination “to ensure that the system of criminal justice in the country promotes speedy dispensation of justice and efficient management of criminal justice institutions”.

He added, “We have however noted that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act has conferred on the respective Chief Judges and the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee the power to monitor criminal proceedings in all courts with a view to ensuring expeditious disposal of criminal cases.

“Accordingly, by virtue of Section 110 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, every court seized of criminal proceedings shall make quarterly returns of the particulars of all cases, including charges, remand and other proceedings commenced and dealt with in the court to the Chief Judge and the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee.

“In reviewing the returns made by the criminal courts, the Chief Judge shall have regard to the need to ensure that: (a) Criminal matters are speedily dealt with; (b) Congestion of cases in courts is drastically reduced; (c) Congestion of prisons is reduced to the barest minimum; and (d) Persons awaiting trial are, as far as possible, not detained in prison custody for a length of time beyond that prescribed in Section 293 of this Act.

“Furthermore, Section 469 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act has established a body known as the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee.

“It is pertinent to note that pursuant to Section 470 (2) (g) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee shall submit quarterly report to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for the purpose of keeping his Lordship abreast of development towards improved criminal justice delivery and for necessary action.

“In the light of the foregoing, we urge Your Lordship to ensure that the trial of all criminal cases, including corruption cases, are effectively monitored by the respective Chief Judges and coordinated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee in strict compliance with the provisions of sections 110 and 470 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.”