The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, yesterday said that the proposed consolidated sentencing guidelines would ensure that congestion in prisons in Nigeria is reduced to the barest minimum through the use of non-custodial sentences.
The AGF said this was in line with section 470(2) (c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA’, 2015 and section 2(1) (b) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
Malami, who spoke at the virtual interactive session of the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion with stakeholders to review the Federal Capital Territory Courts Sentencing Guidelines and Practice Direction 2020, said the guideline was geared towards implementing one of the major recommendations of the National Workshop on Effective Implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
According to him, some of the objectives of the proposed guidelines was to set out the appropriate standards and guideline for the sentencing process in offences against the state, person, public order, morality, homicide, property and corruption related offences, for the purpose of ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in sentencing in the Federal Capital Territory. He also said that the new guideline was to set out the requirements and procedure for imposing custodial and non-custodial sentences for the purpose of preventing abuse and ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in the imposition of sentences.
Malami said: ‘’This interactive session has therefore brought together relevant stakeholders especially the FCT judiciary to review, ratify, validate and adopt the consolidated draft document, which will hopefully be signed in no distant time by my Lord, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court.
‘’It is expected that this pilot document will be extended to other states of the federation, especially those states that have enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Law. The administration of our criminal justice system is an embodiment of diverse institutions respectively engaged in the detection, prosecution and adjudication over offenders culminating in conviction and sentencing.”