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The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch, Mr. Oluseun Abimbola, has reiterated the need for lawyers to take over the prosecution of criminal cases in magistrates’ courts to ensure speedy trials.
Abimbola told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan that the practice of police prosecution of cases was inherited from the colonialists.
He, however, said the practice was inadequate to meet modern challenges of the criminal justice system in the country.
“It is a lot of disservice to have prosecutors who are not lawyers handling criminal cases in the magistrates’ courts.
“This does not happen in the higher courts because only a lawyer can plead before a judge.
“For the purpose of a proper job being done in terms of not necessarily the skills alone, but speedy administration of justice, there is no reason why we should still have the police prosecuting,” he said.
The NBA boss added that the police could prosecute where the counsel were qualified lawyers.
“Let the police focus on law enforcement and let lawyers focus on prosecution.
“However, if the police should prosecute, let the police prosecutor be a lawyer. I know that we have sufficient number of lawyers within the rank and file of the police,’’ he said.
Abimbola urged the police authorities to recruit more lawyers and conduct periodic training to hone their capacity.