By Idris Khalid
The Judiciary in Bauchi has commended the present administration of Governor Bala Mohammed of the state for facilitating the complete of the basic laws in the administration of criminal justice in the state.
The Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Barrister Subilim Emmanuel Danjuma said that is was the first time in the history of Bauchi State a complete overhaul of the basic laws in the administration of criminal justice was successfully undertaken.
Barrister Subilim Danjuma was Tuesday in Bauchi speaking at the official unveiling of the Administration of Criminal of Justice Law 2022, Violence Against Person’s (Prohibition) Law 2022 and the Penal Code Law 2022 of Bauchi state.
Danjuma spoke on behalf of the State Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar who is the Chairperson of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Council in Bauchi.
He told the press conference that, “This, I must say, is due to the commitment of the present administration in giving the judiciary a space and its rightful place to operate efficiently by His Excellency the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed CON. Indeed, we doff our cap to his Excellency for these great feats”.
“In the case of Administration of Criminal Justice Law and Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law, the repealed laws when assented to were perhaps said to be recent existing laws only in our statute books; however, the reality is that these laws only existed in the bookshelves of the Ministry of Justice as they could not be implemented after their assent.”
Danjuma gave the major reasons in the legal cycle as multiple incurable defects associated with the Laws, while the state Penal Code never saw the light of amendment since 30th September, 1960 when it was signed into law, saying ‘It appears no one ever saw the need to review the law”.
“From our records in the Central Registry of the High Court where cases are registered and assigned to Magistrate and District Courts within Bauchi metropolis shows that from January 2021 to December 2021, 567 civil cases were registered, 1232 criminal cases were registered out of which 219 cases were GBV cases”.
He said, “January 2022 to December 2022, 1319 civil cases were registered, 2416 criminal cases were registered out of which 184 cases were GBV cases, January 2023 to 13 February 2023, 130 civil cases were registered, 275 criminal cases were registered out of which 17 are GBV cases”.
Chief Registrar explained that the statistics only cover 11 of the 35 sitting Magistrates in the State and over 100 Sharia Courts across the State, adding “This is not even without making any reference to the pending cases in the various courts”.
“It is obvious that delays in the dispensation of justice and congestion of dockets of our courts and by extension congestion of Correctional Centres with high population of Awaiting Trial Persons (ATPs) are the norm and the order of the day. The need for these Laws therefore is not only timely but a necessity in our today’s Bauchi State”,
Danjuma said that with the support and doggedness of the Executive and Legislative Arms, the Bauchi State Judiciary can boast today of having laws that will not only stand the test of time but revolutionize the administration of criminal justice.
He however said that enacting a good law does not necessarily translate to effective application of that law, hence it is necessary that all the agencies and stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in the state must endeavour to study and understand the provisions of these laws and work in synergy to ensure the realization of their objectives.
According to him, the law and the administration of justice cannot afford to be static and retrogressive, as the only option open to our jurisprudence is intelligent, mature and progressive activism, saying the judges have to so interpret the law such that it makes sense to our citizens in distress and assures them of equal protection of the law, equal freedom under the law, and equal justice.
The unveiling of the three new laws of Bauchi state was witnessed by stakeholders in the Administration of Justice in the state that included, among other, the police, correctional service, National Human Rights Commission and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).