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NGO Calls For Reform Of Criminal Justice System

The Executive Director of the Registered Voters Association of Nigeria (REVAN), a Non-Governmental Organisation , Dr Philip Ugbodaga, on Wednesday called for the reform of the country’s criminal justice system.

He warned that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti corruption war may fail if the country’s criminal justice system was not reformed.

Ugbodaga said the call became necessary because Nigeria’s neo-colonial judicial system was too weak to sustain the current anti-corruption fight.

He said it was as a result of the weaknesses inherent in the nation’s judicial system that those accused of corruption were always easily let off the hook.

Ugbodaga stressed the need to amend the Evidence Act, the Ciminal Procedure Act and the Criminal Procedure Code, to accommodate the technological advancement and challenges of our contemporary times.

According to him, “This will ensure speedy disposal of cases in courts which is a basis for the renewed calls for special courts and special judges, to handle corruption cases.

“The anti-corruption prosecuting counsels also need to be extremely knowledgeable and competent because we have seen very shabbily handled cases where suspects are set free on account of poor job done by the prosecuting counsels,’’ he said.

Ugbodaga called for the criminalisation of corruption at community levels, by ensuring that the people at the local level question the source of wealth of public officials.

“Finally, the government must partner with Civil Society Organisations to ensure that they effectively act as watch dogs of those saddled with the responsibility of overseeing our financial matters,” he added.