Indigent suspects to get free legal services as ACJA oversight committee launches program

The Administration of Criminal Justice Act Oversight Committee (ACJAMC) has launched a Police Station Duty Counsel (PDSS) program to provide free legal services to vulnerable and indigent persons detained in police stations. police pending the completion of investigations and their appearance in court.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja over the weekend, the committee secretary, Sulayman Dawodu, said the committee, as the guardian of ACJA 2015, is responsible for ensuring prompt and effective dispensation of justice criminal in the country.

The committee, Dawodu said, is in synergy with stakeholders in the justice system to provide free legal services to indigent people in society as part of ACJAMC’s contribution to maintaining the PDSS and improving justice. efficiency of the criminal justice system.

He said the birth of the PDSS followed the launch of the Order of Force 20, which officially gave the program the seal of partnership with the police, the authority to visit police stations in Nigeria and the notoriety to operate specifically within the Nigerian Police across the country.

According to Dawodu, “Force Order 20 is the instrument of authority for duty counsel to carry out their duties without fear of reprisal or intimidation.”

The ACJA, he pointed out, will implement the scheme by placing duty counsel, staffed by lawyers from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at designated police stations under the supervision of a solicitor. principal who will be recruited specifically for this purpose.

Speaking on the role of the PDSS in the justice sector, NBA Abuja Branch Chairman Mr. Bulus Atsen said that the credentials of the police must be checked to avoid abuse and added that the Criminal Justice Administration Act (ACJA) has created an opportunity to improve the country’s criminal laws.

He said the police do not have the power to obtain statements from suspects under duress and stressed the need for the police to operate in accordance with the law for transparency and accountability in the administration of the system of criminal justice.

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