The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have partnered to ensure the strengthening and seamless application of the Criminal Justice System across the country as part of measures aimed at ensuring the rights of Nigerians are protected.
They argued that the collaboration had been formed toward reaffirming the commitment of the security agency and judiciary to the advancement of the criminal justice processes in Nigeria.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, while giving details of the partnership noted that both parties involved would be setting up Joint Committee for promoting human rights and the rule of law.
He noted that the agreement was reached when the Barrister Olumide Akpata-led NBA leadership paid him a courtesy visit yesterday at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, adding that no efforts would be spared in ensuring rule of law prevails in the country.
Speaking during the meeting, the IGP pledged that the force would work in sync with the NBA in the proposed Joint Committee and promote respect for the rights and privileges of the citizens during criminal investigations.
According to him, the committee will work in harmonizing functions and developing new frameworks and protocols for promoting due process and the rule of law, dealing with issues of unnecessary antagonism between police officers and defense attorneys, among others.
He further noted that the collaboration would also assist in promoting a seamless working relationship between police officers and defense attorneys. The committee shall have its members drawn from both the Bar and the NPF.
The IGP, while acknowledging that the force has one of the largest pool of licensed legal practitioners in the country, revealed that there are plans in place for effective utilization of the police lawyers as well as advancing professionalism for lawyers within the force.
On his part, the NBA president appreciated the IGP for the various reforms being championed by the current police leadership, especially those bordering on promoting the rights and privileges of the citizens.
He advocated more goodwill between the police and members of the Bar as cardinal players within the Nigerian Criminal Justice System. He also commended the Police Complaint Response Unit for always responding to complaints and issues of frictions between defense lawyers and the police.
Other members of the NBA delegation are Barr. John Aikpokpo Martins – NBA Vice President, Mrs Joyce Oduah – NBA General Secretary, Barr. Tunde Edun, Barr. Benard Oniga and Barr. Isah Abubakar Aliyu.