Chief Justice Of Nigeria Gives New Practice Direction, Orders State Chief Judges To Direct The Inspection Of Police Stations And Places Of Detention By Magistrates - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Chief Justice Of Nigeria Gives New Practice Direction, Orders State Chief Judges To Direct The Inspection Of Police Stations And Places Of Detention By Magistrates

Chief Justice Of Nigeria Gives New Practice Direction, Orders State Chief Judges To Direct The Inspection Of Police Stations And Places Of Detention By Magistrates

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Walter S.N. Onnoghen, GCON

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Walter S.N. Onnoghen, GCON, has given a new practice direction to all Chief Judges of the States of the Federation to direct Magistrates to conduct an inspection of Police stations within his or her jurisdiction.

This was necessary following the complaints of the horrific incidents of police brutality, inordinate arrest, detention and extortion of innocent Nigerians by Policemen in the Country, received by his office in recent times.

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According to the number one bench man in Nigeria, the practice direction dated the 20th day of June 2018, is needed at this time as Magistrate Courts in Nigeria are overwhelmed with cases of such brutality and it is only imperative that such excesses are curbed.

The Practice reads as follows:

The Chief Judge of every state of the Nation including the Federal Capital territory shall direct Chief Magistrates, and where there is no Chief Magistrate within the Police Division, designate any Magistrate for that purpose, to at least every month, conduct an inspection of Police Stations or other places of detention within the territorial jurisdiction other than prison.

The Chief Judge of every state of the Nation including the Federal Capital territory shall put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the above provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The Hon. Chief Justice, made the direction from Section 34 (1) and (2) of ACJA which states as follows:

“The Chief Magistrate, or where there is no Chief Magistrate within the Police division, any Magistrate designated by the Chief Judge for that purpose, shall, at least every month, conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than prison.

During the visit, Magistrate may:

a. Call for, and inspect the record of arrest;

b. Direct the arraignment of the suspect;

c. Where bail has been refused, grant bail to any suspect where appropriate if the offence for which the suspect is held is within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.”

However, a seasoned legal practitioner while commenting on the new direction stated that the direction is not based on the position of the law and therefore portrays the notion of the “unitary system” of the judiciary within a federal system.

According to him, ACJA does not apply to States except where it is domesticated by a State.

Chief Justice Of Nigeria Gives New Practice Direction, Orders State Chief Judges To Direct The Inspection Of Police Stations And Places Of Detention By Magistrates


”ACJA does not apply to States except where it is domesticated by a State. Practice direction by the HCJN is for the practice in the Supreme Court or in respect of matters that concern the SCN such as an appeal or application to it.

”For example, while section 34 of the ACJA enjoins the Magistrate to visit the police station, section 20 of the ACJL of Lagos State 2011 enjoins the police to report to the magistrate (and not the Magistrate to visit the police station),” he said.

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