In furtherance of the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to the advancement of the criminal justice processes in the country, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has pledged to support the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
The Police Chief disclosed this on Wednesday, 4 August, during a courtesy call paid to the Force Headquarters by the President of the NBA, Barrister Olumide A. Akpata, in company of other officials of the Association.
TheFact Nigeria notes the importance of the roles played by both bodies with regards to the criminal justice system, considering the steep obstacles ordinary Nigerians confront on thier path to justice, including insufficient legal help and judicial processes that are slow and expensive. Of particular urgency on the criminal justice front is the epidemic of pretrial detention, which delays justice and contributes to overcrowded prisons.
The IGP, during the meeting, pledged that the Force would work in sync with the NBA in a soon-to-be established Joint Committee, aimed at harmonizing functions and developing new frameworks and protocols for promoting due process and the Rule of Law, dealing with issues of unnecessary antagonism between Police officers and defense attorneys, and promoting respect for the rights and privileges of the citizens during criminal investigations.
He further disclosed that the collaboration between the two organizations would also assist in promoting a seamless working relationship between Police officers and defense attorneys. The committee shall have its members drawn from both the Bar and the NPF.
IGP Baba, while acknowledging that the Force has one of the largest pool of licensed legal practitioners in the country, revealed that there were plans in place for effective utilization of the Police lawyers as well as advancing professionalism for lawyers within the Force.
In his comments, the President of the NBA appreciated the IGP for the various reforms being championed by the current Police leadership, especially those bordering on promoting the rights and privileges of the citizens. He advocated more goodwill between the Police and members of the Bar as cardinal players within the Nigerian Criminal Justice System.
Apata also commended the Police Complaint Response Unit for always responding to complaints and issues of frictions between defense lawyers and the Police.
Other members of the NBA delegation were: the Association’s Vice President, Barr. John Aikpokpo Martins, the General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah, Barr. Tunde Edun, Barr. Benard Oniga and Barr. Isah Abubakar Aliyu.