Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) has said that the state’s laws empowered police prosecutors to handle criminal cases at the magistrate court level.
Onigbanjo insisted that until the law is reviewed, police prosecutors will continue to prosecute criminal offences at the various magistrate courts in the stated.
The Commissioner, who was quoted to have said this in a press statement signed by the Ministry’s Director of Public Affairs, Kayode Oyekanmi, had, however, set up a committee to review and advice him on the issue.
The chairman of the committee is former Solicitor General of the State, Fola Arthur-Worrey who had in the past served the state in several capacities.
He served as Commissioner for Lands, and Executive Secretary, Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
As Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in years past, he started the computerization of criminal cases and awaiting trial mates in prisons located in the state.
Other members of the committee include the incumbent Solicitor General, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, Y. G Oshoala (Directorate of Public Prosecution), Norrison Quakers (SAN) Bayo Akinlade, Rukayat Owolabi, and Arinola Ayokanmbi.
The press statement reads in part, “The Ministry of Justice is aware of the current clamour by the Non-Governmental Organizations and Stakeholders to stop Police prosecution of criminal matters in Magistrate Courts in accordance to ACJA provisions.
“The Ministry, wish to clearly state, that the ACJA does not apply to Lagos State.
“Furthermore, there is no provision of any Law barring the Police from prosecution of criminal matters in Magistrate Courts in Lagos State.
“As such, the provision of the Law in Lagos State as it stands does not Bar the Police from the prosecution of matters in Magistrate Courts.
“However, the Ministry of Justice is always willing to investigate any issue that would improve Administration of Justice in the State.
“As a result, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN had directed the set – up of a committee to look into the matter and advice accordingly.
“More importantly, the Ministry is currently in the process of reviewing the State Laws relating to the Administration of Criminal Justice.
“The Ministry hereby assures members of the public that they would be informed on the outcome of the committee’s report.”