ABUJA —Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, said there was need for prosecutors in the country to properly investigate cases before charging suspects to court, insisting that criminal justice system depends on efficient and effective functioning of all stakeholders.
According to the CJN who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2018 National Workshop for Investigators and Prosecutors in Abuja, the role of the judiciary as a key stakeholder in the administration of criminal justice could hardly be discharged without diligent investigation and prosecution.
He said: “I must emphasise that in all criminal trials, the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and this burden is discharged by the prosecution calling witnesses to give compelling evidence against the defendant with relevant exhibits to lend credence to oral evidence as the court is not Father Christmas that will give what you did not ask of it.
“The prosecutors must always be guided to ensure that the spirit of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 is not subjected to abuse by parties in criminal matters.
“I am glad to say that, the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 has introduced innovations such as front loading of evidence at the time of commencement of an action, plea bargaining, limitation of adjournments, restitution, non-custodial sentencing and forfeiture of assets, amongst others, aimed at strengthening our Justice system.”
Justice Onnoghen said decision to organise the workshop was borne out of the desire of the Education Committee of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, NJI to enhance the capacity and capability of investigators and prosecutors.
“This workshop serves as a forum to sharpen the prosecutorial and investigative skills of participants in view of the daily challenges you encounter in the discharge of your duties,” he added.
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice Roseline Bozimo, emphasized need for prosecutors to always carry out their functions with fairness and detachment, “with the sole and unadulterated objective of establishing the whole truth in accordance with the law.
“As prosecutors and investigators, your duties are tedious and require unbiased professional judgment and legal competence.
“The ultimate purpose of the criminal justice system is to uphold the rule of law, which is one of the most fundamental conditions for the sustainable development of any society.”