The Justice Reform Team Network Meeting and National Justice StakeHolders Consultative Conference kicked off on Monday at the Micheal Okpara auditorium, Umuahia, Abia State.
The event event which is expected to run for three days in its opening ceremony had the invitation of the Executive governor of Abia state, ably represented by the Deputy governor, Ude Oko Chukwu.
Others also present was the Chief Judge of Abia State, Onuoha Ogwe, who is also the Chairman Judiciary of Criminal Justice. Uche Ihediwa, the Attorney general and commissioner of Justice, Abia State, was also in attendance.
Dr. Uju Agomoh, the executive director/founder, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) was also amongst other diginitries that graced the summit.
The event was declared opened by the Deputy governor of Abia State, Ude Oko Chukwu.
In the Deputy governors opening remark, he expressed delighted to be at the event.
His words: ” I feel very delighted to be hear to declare open the 2021 Justice sector reform summit put together by the ministry of justice, in conjunction with other partnering agencies.
“PRAWA as I have been informed promotes human rights of prisoners and also help those who have survived prisons in integrating into the community. Am also aware that the organization believes in the importance, just, humane and accessing justice system which recognizes support in the rehabilitation of offenders and victims into the community.
” There is urgent need to put in place effective reforms that will guarantee efficiency and transparency in justice administration in all the states”.
“Justice sector summit can help to innovate, encourage, facilitate innovations across the state.” The deputy governor added.
The Chief judge of Abia State, Onuoha Ogwe, while addressing pressmen said ” reforms is in every area. That is why all agencies are involved.
“The ministry of justice initiates the persecution, it is the court that tries, and the sentence handles the remand process. So it’s a collaboration between all of us. And we are reforming all of them. We are reforming the trial process to hasting it so that it will not take forever to be a case.
“With this reform, the prisons will be decongest, they are already decongested.” He added.
In giving an insight on how the reforms will be effective, the attorney general of Abia state, Uche Ihediwa on his part said, ” in a case, the judge have to sit, else, that effort of bringing the prisoner before the court will be wasted.
“If the prisoner is in the court and the judge sits, and the lawyer to the defendant is not in court, in capital offences that is the end of that effort and that is responsible for prolonged delay of trials.Fortunately for Abia state, that has been taken care of.
” The reform has to be 21st century compliant.” He added.
The attorney general also advocates for a trial process where court cases or trials can be done electronically from the prisons to the court.
His words: “With all the lawyers and dramatic person linked up electronically, all this will safe us the stress of assembling all the Bodies involved in trial process.” Uche Ihediwa added.
The Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr. Uju Agomoh, on her part said the key expectation is to have an opportunity with civil society to interface with various government stakeholders within the justice sector.
Her words: ” Here in this meeting we have representatives of civil society forums on corrections and detentions from across Nigeria.
“In the areas we want to highlight in this meeting is just beyond the sharing of experiences and discussions. we want all representatives to come together and plan the intervention of going forward.
‘We have a seed grant to all the states across the country towards the effective implementation of section 12 sub 2, sub 4 of the Nigerian correctional service act of 2019. And this this is the section that talks about activation of early morning signal.” Dr. Uju Agomoh revealed.