Nigeria Police have been stopped from engaging in the prosecution of criminal cases on behalf of the state at the magistrates’ courts.
Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Kano State, Barrister Ibrahim Mukhtar, who disclosed this on Sunday, noted that the responsibility would now be handled by lawyers (state counsels)
He added that since the commencement of the new directive, on the 24th day of December 2019, the criminal justice system in the state has recorded a major leap.
“We have started with 14 magistrates courts in No-man’s-land, where we have deployed three lawyers (state counsels) to prosecute cases before each of the 14 courts.
“In the same vein, we have also sent three lawyers to the three Shariah courts at Kofar Kudu to prosecute Shariah criminal cases.”
Mukhtar explained that his office relied on Section 211 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, as well as the provisions of the newly-promulgated Administration Of Criminal Justice Law of the state to relieve the police from engaging in the prosecution of criminal cases.
He recalled that police officers were well trained and competent in crime prevention, detection and investigation while adding that under the new arrangement, they would have enough time to focus on these core areas of responsibilities.
The Attorney General also noted that the new arrangement would assist in ensuring diligent prosecution in addition to the fact that it would give room for every party to a criminal case to have an adequate representation in court.
“You find that defendants in criminal matters are always at liberty to engage the services of lawyers, even senior advocates while the state has to make do with police prosecutors whose knowledge of the law is limited,” he stated.
“We hope to see that this trend is changed. We want all parties to have what would be seen to proper representation. We feel it is better to have legal practitioners on the two sides of every criminal prosecution in the state,” he said.
He added that “this would assist in ensuring that all parties have justice in the spirit of equality before the law. We plan to gradually take over the entire criminal prosecution in the state from the police.”
Investigation indicated that the new arrangement was received with heavy hearts by members of the police in the state who could not see reason while they should be relieved of their role in the criminal justice system.