The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said the prosecution of cases should be left to legal practitioners while the police focus on thorough investigation.
In a communiqué at the end of the 2nd NBA Criminal Justice Reform Conference (CJRC), with the theme, "Effective Nationwide Anti-crime and Security Coverage through the Justice System", the NBA stated that the country is under- policed, adding that the existing police machinery lacks the capacity to investigate crimes.
The NBA also identified the absence of appropriate constitutional and legal framework for the sustenance of a viable criminal justice system and failure of the executive to implement government policies as major challenges confronting the nation.
"The self-evident failings in the Nigerian criminal justice system have systematically eroded the confidence ordinary citizens have in the judiciary and legal profession and created a general sense of insecurity in the populace and an erosion of trust in our security agencies with the effect that police stations and law enforcement agencies, ordinarily places of refuge, are today avoided like the plague by the average citizen even when they have genuine complaints."
The communiqué also said the prosecution of cases in Nigeria is expensive and fraught with wastage and duplicity. It advocated that State Attorneys-General should set up task-forces in conjunction with the various branches of the NBA with the mandate of ensuring speedy and efficient dispensation of trials within their jurisdictions toward restoring public confidence in the judicial process.
While also advocating for the establishment of state and communal police, it said that the Federal Government has appropriated to itself many powers on the exclusive legislative list such that it is clearly impossible for one government to fulfill its obligations to the federation.
The communiqué said the maintenance of law and order is paramount and that only decentralized policing can guarantee this state of affairs.