By Ifiok ITIABA -Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has yesterday March 21,2017 passed into law A BILL FOR A LAW TO MAKE PROVISIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS.
The bill sponsored by member representing Etinan State, Barr. Aniefiok Dennis seeks to strengthen the justice system in the state.
Although the bill was passed into law in 2015 by the National Assembly, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in its wisdom thought it wise to domesticate it.
According to the lead sponsor, Barr Aniefiok Dennis of Etinan State Constituency, “it became necessary for us to domesticate the law in order to fast track administration of justice”.
Barr. Dennis who spoke with newsmen immediately after the passage of the bill highlighted some of its benefits.
According to him, “before now, our women were not allowed to bail people no matter their position in the society, but through this, our women can now do so. The bill is not discriminatory”.
He stated that minor offenders can be punished without taking them to prison.
“If someone commits a minor offense, instead of sending him to prison, the person can be punished with manual labour like the case is done in other states”.
He also noted that the law gives everyone the right to seek a warrant of arrest before being arrested.
“With the passage of this bill today, you have the right to see a copy of the arrest warrant before you are arrested”.
He stressed that the era where innocent people are arrested in place of the culprits are over.
“With this bill now, when someone commits any crime and is at large, the Police cannot arrest their relatives in their place which was rampant before”.
On his part, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Onofiok Luke said the law provides protection of our society from crime and criminality, and makes provision for the protection of the rights and interest of defendants standing trial or awaiting trial.
He stressed that the bill will enhance uniformed and speedy disposal of criminal cases in our courts and also ensure effective management of the criminal justice institutions.
Hon. Luke maintained further that it was necessary for the state to harmonize the administration of criminal justice with other States in the Federation and in line with international best practices in criminal jurisprudence and the enormous benefits which the state stands to gain.