Advocacy Visits and Trainings for Criminal Justice Actors

Summit on Justice Reforms and Human Rights in Kano State, organised  by CURE-Nigeria in collaboration with the NHRC North-West Zonal Office and the Ministry of Justice, Kano State with the support of NBA, Kano Branch

Theme: The Role of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Administration of Criminal Justice System Reforms and Prison Decongestion in Kano State.

from all discussed at the summit, a Communique was adopted by all participants which is to serve as a guide for the criminal justice systems reforms in Kano State, Nigeria.

Participants at the Summit on Criminal Justice Reforms and Human Rights in Kano State, held on 25th, October 2018 at the Nigerian Bar Association Secretariat, Kano State, declare:

Whereas there are 2,448 pretrial detainees in Kano State;

Whereas 1,024 detainees do not have lawyers

Whereas Kano State Legal Aid Council is only staffed with five lawyers and has no operational vehicle;

Whereas the criminal justice institutions in Kano State lack critical and key infrastructure;

Whereas there are 72 women prisoners, 9 babies residing in prison, and 38 lunatics languishing in prison in Kano State;

Be It Resolved

That we affirm and recommend that the Kano State judiciary is granted financial autonomy in compliance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

We further recommend that:

  1. Kano State criminal justice system personnel, particularly the judiciary, require urgent training and retraining
  2. The proposed Administration of Criminal Justice Bill in Kano State and the Child Rights Act, 2003 be passed quickly into law
  1. Alternatives to custodial sentences should be used in order to decongestion prisons in Kano State
  2. All lunatics in Kano prisons and other prisons across the country should be removed to hospitals for treatment.
  3. The Government of Kano State must invest in electronic infrastructure in all Kano State judicial and law enforcement institutions to achieve effective and efficient administration of justice in the State.
  4. Alternatives to incarceration should be used for women, particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  5. Kano State Government invests in ‘State Brief’ to assist the needy and decongest the prisons.
  6. Private legal practitioners in Kano State should be encouraged to take up cases on pro bono for indigent detainees.
  7. Kano State judiciary must strive to develop an effective case management system and effective data collection system to be more efficient.
  8. The three arms of the criminal justice system in Kano State should work in harmony to fight corruption and abuse of power and the rule of law

List of participating agencies: CURE-Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria Bar Association, Judiciary, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Prison Service, Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Police Force, Sharia Courts, HISBA Board, Public Defendant Office, Young Leaders Rights and Patriotic Initiative of Nigeria (YOLPIN), Isa Wali Ewip Initiative, Media, e.t.c.

CURE-Nigeria has continued its advocacy for justice reforms and respect for human rights across the country. Here is one of such event on the 6th March 2018 in Asaba, Delta State.

 On The Role of the Rule Of Law And Human Rights In Reforming the Criminal Justice System in Delta State Organized By Citizens United For The Rehabilitation Of The Errants (Cure) – Nigeria And Bonum Seeds Foundation In Collaboration With High Court Of Justice, Delta State At Orchid Hotel, DBS Road, GRA, Asaba, Delta State

Advocacy Visits

One critical part of our work involves visiting places of detention to assess the physical conditions of detention facilities and how these affect detainees’ social, and health welfare being. Also, we assess the human rights condition of inmates. The findings from these visits form part of our advocacy programming and activities.

Here, the Executive Director, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, visits SARS Detention Facility in Abuja, in partnership with the National Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Bar Association, the National Committee Against Torture, and NOPLIN, ASO Radio, to assess human rights conditions and access to justice for inmates in the facility. This visit was conducted in the wake of the national outcry for the reform of SARS following a series of human rights violations.

The Executive Director with members of the National Committee Against Torture on a visit to the SARS in Abuja

Visit to Senator David Umaru

Visit to key stakeholders such as the law and policymakers, law enforcement, and religious and traditional institutions, among others, is a vital part of an effort to achieve justice reforms and promote human rights in Nigeria. Here, members of CURE-Nigeria paid a visit to Distinguished Senator David Umaru, the Chairman of, the Senate Committee on Human Rights and Judiciary at the National Assembly.

Among other things, CURE-Nigeria asked the Committee to visit places of detention to assess human rights and prison conditions, as well as take steps to ensure the full implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, particularly, the use of alternatives to incarceration. We also brought to his attention some serious loopholes in the Act and the urgent need for amendment of those parts for effective and efficient justice administration in Nigeria. The Senator was pleased with the visit and promised to take our requests to his Committee for consideration and necessary action.

Senator David Umaru (middle) and the Executive Director with members of his team

Media Advocacy

In November 2017, CURE-Nigeria carried out intensive advocacy on the perennial issue of the high rate of awaiting trial inmates in our prisons through the use of press conferences to reach relevant stakeholders. This became imperative as most of the ills in our prisons are linked to congestion due to the large awaiting trial proportion of our prison population. More than 70% of the people in prisons in Nigeria are awaiting trial. CURE-Nigeria visited prisons in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu states that are amongst those with the highest awaiting trial population before the press conferences were done at these locations.

Some pictures from the press conference:

Two of CURE-Nigeria’s main activities are advocacy visits to stakeholders and training of criminal justice actors. Through these visits, we challenge policies, legislations, and practices that do not conform to domestic and international law, and make suggestions for reforms.
Through the training, we are able to train stakeholders such as judicial, police, and prison officers, as well as prosecutors on the law and international standards. We invite experts to deliver presentations on various topics, and participants are given plenty of opportunities to ask questions, share ideas and learn from each other. This has contributed to justice reforms in Nigeria. Also, major decisions have been reached at some of these trainings which have a huge impact on justice reform in Nigeria. For example, at our training in 2012, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice announced the Ministry’s decision to withdraw its proposal to the Federal Government to build more prisons following CURE-Nigeria’s persistent argument that the country does not need new prisons in order to de-congest the prisons, as contained in a letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan.

2011 conference, organized by CURE-Nigeria and supported by International CURE; Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria; and Jane Addams School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.

2011 training in Abuja, organized by CURE-Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria

2015 training in Abuja, organized by CURE-Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, Federal Ministry of Justice, and High Court of Justice, Federal Capital Territory

Hon. Justice Uwais and Hon. Justice Bello were at the event,

Justice Uwais, Justice Bello, Rep of the French Embassy, and Sylvester at the event

A cross-section of magistrates, prosecutors, and other participants in attendance

Training in Makurdi, organized by CURE-Nigeria and the High Court of Justice, Benue State

2012 training in Lagos, organized by CURE-Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria.

2015 training in Abuja, organized by CURE-Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, Federal Ministry of Justice, and High Court of Justice, Federal Capital Territory.

Scroll to Top