Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, has advocated for Alternative Disputes Resolution mechanism to address incessant delays and congestion in administration of justice in the country.
He made the call in a keynote address during the South-East Policy Summit on Criminal Justice Reforms held in the State capital, Abakaliki on Wednesday.
The Summit organised by South-East Body of Attorney Generals was designed to bring together key stakeholders in Criminal Justice Administration delivery to acquire sound professional knowledge and skills about viable alternative means to Retributive Criminal Justice system.
The Governor pointed out that deteriorating state of the criminal justice system in South-East zone has led to high state of insecurity and poor investor confidence.
“Realising the magnitude of this problem, successive governments at various levels have initiated programmes and projects aimed at improving the State Criminal Justice Delivery and Access to Justice generally.
Regrettably, most of these efforts have failed to produce the desired outcomes either due to flawed design or implementation or a disregard for the need for innovative reforms that combine the current retributive justice system with a restorative and reparative approach,” he said.
He called on stakeholders and practitioners to endeavour to understand the dynamics of the emerging principle to be able to fully harness its potentials.
“The implementation of the outcome of the summit will be an investment in public security, peace and development, reinforcing the pillars of the rule of law and sound democratic culture,” the Governor said.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, called on stakeholders and authorities in the region to support measures that will ensue effective implementation of the reforms through legislative amendments.
“It is not in doubt that an effective and efficient justice system is a panacea for peace, stability and economic growth and development. Consequently, it is critical to continue to take necessary steps to promote access to justice and rule of law within our respective spheres of authority.”
The Attorney-General of Ebonyi State and Chairman Body of South-East Attorney Generals, Dr. Ben Odo, said the outcome of the summit will substantially reduce the number of cases that hinder the court system and cause undue delays in criminal justice.