Ripples as Kano Removes Nigeria Police from Criminal Prosecution

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the action of Kano state attorney-general and commissioner of justice, Ibrahim Mukthar ordering the removal of men of the Nigeria Police force from the prosecution of criminal cases in some courts in the state.

Reacting to the development, keen observers and stakeholders in the justice sector have continued to express their sacrosanct opinions on the matter.

A Kano-based lawyer who spoke to judicialsketch.com under the condition of anonymity said the step taken by the attorney-general slept too long in the offing.

According to the legal practitioner,  with the move now taken, residents who are in contact with the law would begin to enjoy reliefs, away from what he called “the prosecutorial rascality been exercised by some police prosecutors.”

He said “justice is a three-way traffic, justice for the complainant, justice for the defendant and justice for the society.

“Mostly in cases of capital offences, which are typically mentioned before our magistrate courts, on remand proceedings, majority of such cases last longer than usual, because the police have their limitations.”

“With learned persons that are now assigned to oversee and pursue the prosecution of capital cases, our courts will now witness smooth flow in the prosecution of these cases.”

Another legal practitioner, who equally pleaded for anonymity, stated that “with lawyers in charge of criminal proceedings, the interest of justice would henceforth be better served, adding that the police prosecutors lack the requisite skills to prosecute criminal cases.”

A Bayero University under-graduate of law, who declined to reveal his identity, said “it is a good development, with the action by the AG, the common man will now enjoy the full services of legal practitioners. And the interest of justice would be better attained in a judicious manner.

The removal of the police prosecutors also attracted reactions from workers on the payroll of the Kano state high court.

A senior judicial officer confided in judicialsketch.com that “the removal is targeted at victimizing some magistrates. Why did they select some courts and what is the relationship between the selected courts and those behind the actions. You are a journalist, go and check and you will detect that something is wrong somewhere let us wait and observe further.”

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The official further said “they in the ministry of justice don’t have enough lawyers to prosecute cases that are already before Kano high courts, so why the haste to take over criminal cases in our magistrate courts?”

The state attorney-general and commissioner of justice last week announced the removal of Nigeria police from the prosecution of criminal matters.

Citing reasons behind the decision, Mukthar alleged that police personnel were not trained or armed with the judicial skills to prosecute criminal cases, saying the police were simply trained in the specialty to deter and investigate crimes.

Mukthar further explained that only lawyers possess the legal skills to diligently navigate criminal matters in court.

The police authorities have so far declined to comment on the developments.

A police source informed this reporter that the concerned departments are studying the situation, revealing that the police authorities would act appropriately.

Judicialsketch.com recalls that the tussle between Kano state ministry of justice and police authorities over who takes charge of the prosecution of criminal cases has lingered on for over a decade. The silent brawl, which though did not degenerate between the parties, has kept both sides on the suspicious verge.

The tussle did not come without an expensive  cost to the interest of justice, our correspondent gathered.

Further checks reveal that some lawyers, out of rage and alleged frustration suffered from how police prosecutors handle their cases, now resort to assigning their inexperienced junior colleagues to superintend over criminal cases pending before the magistrate courts.

When our correspondent visited selected courts premises within Kano metropolis, the issue of police removal from prosecution was a subject of discuss amongst all cadre of members of staff.

Abdulgafar Oladimeji: Abdulgafar Olawale Oladimeji is a Nigerian born, London school of journalism trained journalist, who started his career in 1998 as a curb reporter in Kano. His work as a reporter has taken him to various African countries.
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