The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, has decried the lack of policies and legislation that facilitate speedy administration of justice in Nigeria.
Adoke expressed concern at the meeting of solicitors-general and permanent secretaries, ministries of justice, heads of prosecuting agencies and Nigeria Bar Association in Abuja on Monday.
The meeting, which is funded by the European Union through the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is geared toward proposing a national policy on prosecution in Nigeria.
Adoke, who was represented by Solicitor-General of the Federation, Abdullahi Yola, said the lack of policies and legislation had affected free and fair trial of suspects in the country.
He said it was in view of this and other challenges that the Federal Justice Reform Coordinating Committee (FJSRCC) planned to develop a national policy on prosecution.
According to him, the national policy will provide the framework to which all prosecuting agencies are expected to use in achieving higher prosecutorial standards.
“A national policy is imperative for efficient crime prosecution in a complex federation like Nigeria. A prosecution policy will help streamline good practices and methods of the various prosecutors and prosecuting agencies.
“This will no doubt lead to quality crime prosecution, increased efficiency and effectiveness in criminal justice administration and above all, the transformation of our justice,” he said.
Adoke further said that a national policy on prosecution had become necessary in view of increasing rate of organised crimes in the country.
The UNODC Country Representative, Mariam Sissoko, said that given the important role played by prosecutors in the administration of justice, it was imperative to come up with a national policy.
According to her, the policy will act as a guideline for prosecutors and prosecuting agencies across the country and help them deliver better on their mandate.
“The workshop is aimed at having solicitors general, review and possibly endorsing a national policy on prosecution.
“Prosecutors have been important in the administration of justice and it is important that they have a guideline that will help them on how to deliver better on their functions.
“At the end of the workshop, the solicitors-general would have reviewed the document and possibly endorse it for the adoption by the attorney-general,” she said.
A member of the FJSRCC and former lawmaker, Levi Oguike, said effort is being made by the Nigeria Law Reform Commission at unifying the criminal and penal codes.
According to him, unification of the codes will make it easier for unification of legal procedures across the country.
He commended the effort of the organisers in ensuring a standardisation of prosecution in the country through a national policy.
“This meeting is aimed at ensuring code of conduct for prosecution and this is the first time solicitors-general of the federation are coming together to brainstorm on the way forward.
“Equally, the Nigeria Law Reform Commission is working towards unifying the Criminal Code and Penal Code.
“This is to build a common ground that will ensure that what happens in one part of the country is applicable in other parts, because crime is the same anywhere,” he said.