Alaafin calls for reformatory approach to Criminal Justice System

 Alaafin of Oyo, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola  Adeyemi 111, has observed that the  Nigerian criminal justice system is not only dysfunctional , outdated but  absolutely not fit for purpose.

Alaafin made the observation in his palace at the weekend,  after being conferred  with an Award of  Fellow, Patron and  Royal Father of the Institute  of Criminal Justice and Criminology Administration (ICJCA).

The Royal Father who  posited that the importance of criminal justice to the smooth running of any society cannot be over emphasized, said an effective criminal justice system is fundamental to the maintenance of law and order.

'"An effective criminal justice system is fundamental to the maintenance of law and order. Criminal justice, because it addresses behavioral issues, must be dynamic and proactive.  Consequently, many of the provisions are outdated and in some cases anachronistic. Besides, the loopholes in the laws and procedure have become so obvious that lawyers especially defense lawyers have become masters in dilatory tactics". 
"It has thus, become increasingly difficult to reach closure of any kind in many criminal cases. Convictions or acquittals have become exceedingly rare".

He asserted that  various institutions are involved in the administration of justice in Nigeria, which include, the judiciary, police, the prison service and legal practitioners.
According to him, "criminal justice is of different stages which commences from when the police has a reasonable suspicion that a person has either committed a crime or is committing a crime, then an arrest will occur, then filling of criminal charges and the bail hearing, through to trial; continues in the case of conviction, through sentencing, imprisonment and release upon completion of sentence."

Alaafin stated that  Nigerian criminal justice system has recorded significant improvements in all aspects of justice delivery resulting in an increase of public confidence in the justice system, he ,  however,  submitted that despite this progress,  there is need for serious reform in the system for a better criminal justice,  as the percentage of prisoners awaiting trial in remand remains high.

" Ajournments unnecessarily prolong disputes, and judicial decision-making remain an issue, both in the eyes of judicial officers and the bar, coordination among the various justice sector institutions as they pose continuous challenges"

Oba Adayemi recalled that prior to the colonial era, Yorubal had three tiers of government, and there was a structured judicial system, which was not, however, strictly formal.

""Nevertheless, these seemingly informal courts served their purpose very well. 
In this context, the people were able to retain their sense of identity: they truly believed that blood was thicker than water".
" They shared in the woes and successes of their kith and kin, as well as in the fortunes and misfortunes of everyone around them.
One cannot fully understand justice administration in Yoruba-land without first understanding the elements of democracy that are featured in pre-colonial and traditional Yoruba social and political structures."

Oba Adeyemi further submitted that.
the Yoruba political and informal legal systems operated both as a segmented lineage groups and as a centralized kingdoms with elaborate, bureaucratic legal systems.

According to him, "the Yoruba are known for their tremendous use of idioms, proverbs and anecdotes in dispute resolution. Prior to the colonial era, the Yoruba practiced a democratic system of government where leadership was by choice and the kingdom was democratically structured with a three-tier government made up of the executive, legislative and judicial branches".

The Oba (king), Alaafin rxplained, was the supreme head of the government and a representative of Olodumare (God Almighty).
The Oba ruled in conjunction with his Igbimo (council of chiefs), and they made up the executive arm of government. The Igbimo is also referred to as  the Oyo Mesi (a body of wisemen )"

Alaafin noted that there was no need to prescribe formal laws as deterrents against a social behaviour, because everybody accepted implicitly that any departure from the approved behaviour was punishable.
by the palace.

Oba Adeyemi who lauded complenentary efforts of the Institute in the area of prisons' decongestion, admonished it not to rest in its oars for the good of all.

Earlier, in his address before  presentation of the award, the Registrar of the Institute, represented by the Director of Membership,

Mr. Amusa Wale Azeez, described the Alaafin as a "a. super intelligent, pro active  ruler, and staunch Advocate of social justice whose pedigree remain resounding and admiring".

This, Wale Azeez hinted  inforned decision of the Instute in its painstaking search for a redoubtable personality to be conferred with the prestigious Patron and Royal Father of the Institute

ICJCA is a professional institute registered with CAC as a Non profit making organisation, Limited by Guarantee;,aproved by the Federal Ministry of Justice and  the Federal Ministry of  Education;.
ICJCA, the first to be registered in Africa, is into the core areas of Security Management, Prison Administration(Correctional & Remedial) and the Judiciary(Justice).

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