Chief Magistrate Olagbegi Adelabu of the Lagos State Judiciary has said that the administration of the criminal justice system is set to improve in Lagos state.
Adelabu, who disclosed that the Lagos State government has trained officers of the Lagos State Police Command on the administration of criminal justice in the state, stressed that the era of wrongful arrest, long stay in detention, and awaiting trial for a long time would become a thing of the past.
Adelabu made this known while speaking at the launch of ‘My Rights My Freedom’, a project of Headfort Foundation, a non-governmental organization working on prison reforms in Nigeria and providing pro bono legal services to indigents.
While responding to the case of Ibrahim Babatunde who spent 4 years in a correctional facility before being released through the help of Headfort Foundation, Magistrate Adelabu stressed that Magistrates have been mandated to visit police stations to ensure that people are not held for long without trial.
Also speaking at the event, during a panel session titled ‘Clog in the Wheel of Justice in Nigeria’, Mrs. Bola Akinsete, Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Lagos State, shared that the Ministry of Justice will continue to collaborate with Headfort Foundation to ensure that no one is denied access to justice.
While launching the project officially, Mrs. Oluyemi Orija, the Founder of Headfort Foundation explained that the project which would run across the country would be sensitizing Nigerians about their rights, especially with the use of local languages.
She buttressed that the project would be expanding on the Lawyers NowNow project which helps to ensure that citizens have access to legal representation wherever they are in any part of the country.
Through the 2-year project, Headfort Foundation will publish a book that contains the Fundamental Human Rights of Nigerian citizens as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended that will be used to enlighten Nigerians about how to defend and exercise their rights
The launch of ‘My Rights My Freedom’ was also used to mark the third anniversary of Headfort Foundation with the celebration of the release of 273 indigents or wrongly incarcerated inmates.