The Nigerian Criminal Justice System has been criticized widely as ineffective, unjust and repressive. As a result, OAL in association with its partner, Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) has been involved in advocacy reforms of administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.
OAL/HURILAWS employed different strategies some of which include litigation, lobby and advocacy. OAL/HURILAWS carried out prison decongestion programmes across different parts of Nigeria. OAL/HURILAWS facilitated roundtables for stakeholders in the Justice sector on behalf of a multi-donor group (World Bank, USAID, DfID, Government of Japan, European Union). OAL led an initiative with the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] and the Multi-Sector Law Group (MSLG) to produce a National Action Plan for Justice Sector Reform in Nigeria.
OAL was appointed by the Attorney General of the Federation as a member of the National Working Group on the Reform of Criminal Justice Administration. The working group was charged…“to develop a first draft of an administration of criminal justice Bill aimed at reducing delays in criminal trials and generally modernizing the criminal justice system in the country”. The Working Group did exactly that and the result was the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Bill which harmonized the various criminal laws in Nigeria. The Bill was a milestone in that it removed clogs in the administration of criminal justice process in Nigeria since the colonial period.
OAL/HURILAWS is working to ensure passage of the ACJ Law in Enugu, Edo, Cross Rivers, Benue and Plateau states. OAL/HURILAWS partnered with other organizations to ensure passage of a Federal Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. Thus far, in addition to Enugu, Edo, Cross Rivers, Benue and Plateau, over 20 states passed the ACJ Laws. OAL/HURILAWS is now focused on ensuring effective implementation of the ACJ Laws.