Lagos State Government’ Legal Advisory Committee on Police Prosecution of criminal cases has recommended a gradual phase-out of police prosecution of criminal cases to prevent a breakdown in the criminal justice system of the state.
The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) disclosed this in a press statement issued by the Ministry.
Onigbanjo also pointed out that four out of the nine recommendations of the committee will be implemented immediately while others will be addressed through the appropriate quarters.
He said police prosecutors need to be better trained and equipped to efficiently discharge the duties of prosecutors, as the Ministry lacks the manpower to replace police prosecutors now.
The Attorney-General said the Ministry of Justice will continue to provide the Nigeria Police Force with technical and infrastructural support to enhance the capacity of their prosecutors and investigators.
While reiterating Governor Sanwo-Olu commitment to the effective administration of justice, Onigbanjo noted that government will renovate, refurbish and equip State CID library at Panti with legal materials resources.
Onigbanjo said the government will employ a filter mechanism to checkmate case files through immediate deployment of district prosecutors to three pilot Magisterial districts in the state, namely; Ebute- Metta, Ikorodu and Ogba.
“With immediate effect we shall commence deployment of district prosecutors in three (3) Magistrate Courts to vet charges and review case files presented by the investigation Police Officers (IPO) to ensure it meets evidential threshold required by law,” Onigbanjo said.
He disclosed that henceforth police prosecutor will have a limited category and numbers of cases they can handle. He said the category and maximum number of cases will be disclosed after a joint meeting with the Judiciary and the State Commissioner of Police.
Onigbanjo said recommendation of the committee on police prosecution power review will also be incorporated in the amendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice System (ACJL) to be presented to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
The Commissioner announced that a team has been constituted to review the over 15000 pending cases as highlighted by the advisory committee at the Magistrate and High Courts.
Onigbanjo added that bail verification as recommended by the committee will be proposed to Lagos State Judiciary for appropriate incorporation into the system.
Onigbanjo, however, assured Lagosians that the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu will continue to dedicate its capacity to ensure speedy resolution of cases for an effective administration of justice.