Mr Bayo Akinlade, the Chairman of the Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Monday frowned at the continued prosecution of cases in the magistrates courts by the police.
Akinlade told the Newsmen in Lagos that delays in criminal jurisprudence at the magistrates’ court were largely due to poor prosecution by the police. According to him, it is the duty of lawyers to prosecute cases in the courts. He said that the prosecution should be done by competent lawyers.
Akinlade, the Convener of Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary, told Newsmen that many cases were being struck out by magistrates’ courts as a result of lack of diligent prosecution.
“I am angry that Lagos State has not fully adopted the ACJA and its provisions especially as regards prosecution of cases by police officers.
“Section 106 of the ACJA stipulates that prosecution of all offences in any court shall be undertaken by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) or a law officer in his ministry, a legal practitioner authorised by the AGF or a legal practitioner authorised to prosecute by law.
“It is rumoured that the Lagos State Ministry of Justice has the second largest `law firm’ in sub-Saharan Africa with more than 500 state counsel,” he said.
The NBA chairperson said that Lagos State should, therefore, be able to spare 150 lawyers to prosecute cases in all its magistrates’ courts.
“I will approach the attorney-general of Lagos State and ask for a fiat to allow private practitioners, especially members of the NBA Ikorodu branch, to prosecute cases at the magistrates’ courts in Ikorodu.
“It is important that we start making use of good lawyers; the incompetency of police prosecutors are responsible for congestion in our courts and inability to prosecute the real criminals.
“It is my duty as the chairman of a branch of the NBA to protect the integrity of the legal profession and the judiciary. I do not shy away from putting up a good argument in favour of the institution of justice,” he said.