Kwara courts in bad shape, laments NBA

NEWS DIGEST–Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Monday painted a sordid and decrepit picture of the courtrooms in Kwara state.

NBA also lamented the dearth of courtrooms and offices in the state judiciary.

Ilorin branch chair of NBA, Mohammed Akande told reporters in Ilorin, the state capital on the sideline of 2019 biennial law week.

Theme of the law week is “advancing socioeconomic fortunes through effective administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.”

Mr. Akande said the state judiciary and investigative and prosecuting agencies need holistic funding.

Said he: “When you talk about implementation of the law you have to look at some things that are very important. Of course, look at the position of our courts in the state. The courts are in bad shape. Even if a law is very effective and there is no place for magistrates and judges to sit, it cannot work.

“In Kwara state we still have like four or five magistrates sharing a courtroom. So the judicial time/productive hours are being wasted. The ministry of justice needs a better accommodation. Today you see between seven and eight lawyers sharing an office. This will affect their productivity. “Therefore, funding of the stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice is essential.”

NBA chair said the last administration in the state did not do much to fund the judiciary, adding that “we hope Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration, which is ‘talk and do’ will provide fund for the proposed site for the ministry of justice office complex.

“The administration has started well. We pray the government will not derail. The governor has personally visited the judiciary and some courts in the state capital. We commend him for that. For the first time we have a sitting governor visiting some courts. We hope in earnest work will start on the renovation of these courts. Because without befitting courtrooms no matter how wonderful a law is, it will not work.”

On the advent of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in Nigeria, Akande said the act had led to the fast-track of prosecution of criminal cases.

He added that the law had yielded positive result by replacing “the frustrating stage in criminal trial within trial which is always a sheer waste of time, as it is usually protracted.”