Correctional Centres: Nigeria to issue guidelines on non-custodial sentencing

The Nigerian Government says a Sentencing Guidelines will be produced and issued for the implementation for non-custodial measures in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.

Solicitor General of the Federation, SGF Mr. Dayo Apata disclosed this at a 2-day Retreat on Correctional Service Reform, in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom state capital in South Nigeria.

He noted that the Workshop which brought together critical Stakeholders in the Administration of Justice Sector in the country is to ensure that the Act is effectively implemented in line with international best practice, furthermore, to harmonize the inputs of the stakeholders at the National Workshop and the inputs of a Technical Working Committee put in place.

Mr. Apata added the Implementation Framework that will emerge from the Retreat will mainstream the roles of critical stakeholders for their consideration and implementation.

“The second major expected outcome of this Retreat is the review of the Draft Federal Capital Territory Courts (Non – Custodial Sentencing) Practice Directions, 2020; for issuance by the Chief Judge of the FCT, Abuja. This document will enable all courts in the Federal Capital Territory that exercise criminal jurisdiction to award non-custodial sentences as appropriate in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019’’ he said.

The SGF assured that the pilot document would be extended to other States especially those that have enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion, Justice Ishaq Bello said the purpose of the Retreat is to look into certain innovations which came up in the course of the execution of the mandate as Presidential Committee to reform and decongest Correctional centres especially the issue of non-custodial sentencing.

’’there is the need to change the psyche of the people to come to terms with international best practice than to put people behind bars in Correctional Centres when you can engage them in a non-custodial centres where their labour certainly will add to economic development of government’’ he echoed.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor in Southern part of the country, Mr. Udom Emmanuel commended the initiatives and steps taken by the Nigerian government to reform the Correctional Service Centres.

The Governor also said that his administration will support the ongoing development in the Correctional Centres in the state, describing it as a good thing for the image of the country.

’’the establishment of Skill Acquisition Centres by the Nigerian Government will bring sense of remorse, accord inmates learning and adaptability to a new environment and impact behavioural change’’ he said

Mr. Udom also promised to provide training for the inmates at the State Skill Acquisition Centres.

Source: Voice of Nigeria