To promote the awareness on the existence of the Non-Custodial Unit in Nigeria, we organised a one day stakeholders dialogue in partnership with Hope Behind Bars Africa.
The stakeholders dialogue was held as a part of our AJURN Project, and a policy brief was launched, which you can find HERE.
In attendance were Officers of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Representatives of the House of Representatives Committee on Reformatory Institutions, committee on Judiciary and committee on FCT Judiciary, Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest Law, National Human Rights Commision, Legal Aid Council, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigerian Police Force, FCT Judiciary, Restorative Justice in Africa, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Advocacy (PRAWA), Law Corridor, University of Abuja Law Clinic, Baze University Law Clinic, Veritas University, Gavel, NULAI, CLEEN Foundation, CJID, members of the Press among others. Various Organizations and agencies expressed and delivered their goodwill messages while commending the organization for putting up the laudable event. These include, the representatives of the Controller General of Corrections and Controller FCT command, The representative of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

The first panel session was moderated by Mrs Funke Adeoye, and the panelists included representatives from the Police FCT Command, the Deputy Controller of Corrections, the Chairman of the House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, the Judiciary NULAI, and NBA SPIDEL.

Mrs. Kanayo Olisa-Metuh moderated the second panel, which included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Chairman of the House Committee on FCT Judiciary, the Judiciary, PRAWA, the National Human Rights Commission, and Goodshare & Maxwell.

Some key recommendations made during the dialogue are as follows;
Reformation begins at the point of arrest. Efforts must be made by staff of the Nigerian Police Force and other agencies with the power to arrest, to ensure that the offenders understand the charges placed against them.
Non Custodial measures such as compensation, suspended sentencing, probation, and fines, should be largely considered in place of conviction.
3. There should be a paradigm shift in the procedure for arrest. Investigations should be made before arrest not after arrest.
4. At the pretrial stage, every form of peaceful resolution must be explored to reduce the rate of incarceration.
5. There needs to be a mindset shift in citizens from punitive to restorative. 6. The executive arm of government must become more intentional about fulfilling their responsibility especially from the top.
7. Different arms with the power to arrest must ensure that they act within the ambits of their jurisdiction and responsibilities.
8. More work must be done to sensitise citizens on the work of different agencies to ensure that when there is a default, the right agency will be held responsible.
9. There is a need to critically consider skill empowerment in the course of non-custodial sentencing.
10. The legal departments of arresting agencies need to be very cautious in sieving cases to ensure that cases are not mislabeled in an attempt to ensure offenders are prosecuted at all cost.
At the end of the event, the program Coordinator, made a call to actions whilst calling on agencies that wish to collaborate with the foundations to reach out to them. The Program manager gave a closing remark and on that note the event ended.



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