Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki yesterday signed the Edo State Criminal Justice Administration Bill into Law.
The governor, who assented to the bill at the Government House, Benin City, the Edo State capital, said “the law would strengthen the protection of the rights of citizens and ensure fair and speedy administration of justice in the state.”
Obaseki went on: “This event is historic as it is the first time in decades that a comprehensive review and modernisation of the Criminal Law procedure would be undertaken.”
“Our focus in the justice sector was informed by the deep conviction that there would not be a modern society, particularly the type we seek to build without respect for the rule of law.
“The criminal justice administration law is designed to take us beyond the colonial era rules of criminal procedures and introduce innovative legal procedure, which will ensure fair hearing in the court of law with due consideration of time.”
Obaseki added that the state government, through the Ministry of Justice, would put in place all required infrastructure towards ensuring implementation of the Criminal Administration Law.
He commended the committee on judiciary for the effort put into the drafting of the bill, adding that the state government would ensure that sufficient copies of the law would be made available. The law, the governor reiterated, would be implemented to the letter to support the government in protecting lives and property of the people of the state.
Chief Judge of the state, Justice Eseohe Ikponmwen, who was represented by Justice Joe Acha, said of the bill: “The Criminal Justice Administration Law will give a new face to the criminal justice system in the state as well as improve the judiciary system.”
On his part, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, however, hinted that the Criminal Administration Law would go a long way in eliminating procedures that delay justice unnecessarily.
Also, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Ede Asenoguan, added that the domestication of the law by the state government was highly commendable, even as he noted: “As of last year, only six states had such a law in place, now that Edo has the law, it is work in progress.”