Senator Hope Uzodinma

To fast track the administration of criminal justice in Imo State, the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, signed into law the Imo House of Assembly bill on criminal justice administration making provision for procedure in the speedy administration of criminal justice in the state which tends to make the pursuit of justice easier for the citizens of the state.

Assenting to the bill Wednesday, Governor Uzodinma expressed resolve to make the pursuit of justice easier for the Imo citizens and commended the Imo State House of Assembly for its effort in making this accomplishment a reality stating “this law today has been accomplished through efforts of our House of Assembly in their quest to make life more meaningful to the people”.

Giving insight into the new law, Governor Uzodimma stated that the sole aim is to fast track criminal justice for citizens. He reflected, “when in 2015, the National Assembly promulgated and got the assent of the President to bring into place the Criminal Justice Act, the purpose was very simple, to fast track criminal justice to our citizenry; to manage and ensure that operations of the institutions responsible for making criminal justice available to our citizens are effective”.

The Governor added; “with this in place, our prisons will now be decongested, with this in place, our criminal justice will be readily available for our people, with this in place, the judiciary is once more equipped to dispense justice without fear or favour”.

On his part, the Attorney General of the State, Barrister Cyprian Akaolisa stated that the whole essence of the bill is to remove all barriers in the Criminal Justice administration system in the state.

He said, “with the law in place, all aspects of speedy administration of justice has been taken care of. Those small handicaps that impede the administration of justice and make cases to continue to be in courts for long periods of time while accused persons remain in custody without trial for long periods of time, all these things have been taken care of”.

Akaolisa further stated that with the law in place, when an accused person is charged to Court, there is a given period his matter must be heard or the person will be discharged. The era of “awaiting trials” is over. He must be talking of an accused Pastor who has been on awaiting trial at the Owerri Central Prisons or Correctional Services for over ten (10) years without trial. No cogent reason was adduced for the undue delays.