Nigeria govt set up 13 man panel to review Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act, 2004

The Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday in Abuja inaugurated a 13 man Technical to review the Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act, Law of Federation Nigeria, 2004.

Inaugurating the committee at the Conference room of Federal Ministry of Justice, Malami stated that a sustainable reformation of the Nigerian Juvenile Justice System was imperative
if we must bring the borstal institute legal framework to conform with the Child Rights Act,2003 the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the Correctional Services Act ,2019.

The Technical Committee was inaugurated on behalf of the minister by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Ejodamen Jedy-Agba who also read Malami’s address.

The Federal Ministry of Justice had earlier gone into partnership with the Federal Ministry of Interior ,Law Reform Commission , the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and solicited the partnership of some international organizations to ensure that a draft bill is prepared.

Stressing the import of the committee assignment, Malam said that a large numbers of children comes in contact with the current law as offenders. He added that “a growing feature of the crime and criminal activities globally is the involvement of juveniles in criminal deviant activities such as theft, burglary, alcoholism,drug abuse and violence. “Nigeria is witnessing this trend at an alarming rate”, he said.

The AGF noted, that he had at a recent joint press briefing with the Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission NHRC, Tony Ojukwu SAN, disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Justice had engaged Heads of Courts to establish Specialized Courts for the speedy and seamless trial of rape/gender – based violence offences in the country.

Such Specialized Courts , he pointed out when established “will fast track the trial of juvenile cases and result in justice for child victims.”

According to Malami, “every day, millions of children in Africa and around the World have their rights violated. They are denied access to education ,health care and social benefits, unduly separated from their families, and affected by exploitation,abuse and violence in their homes and communities.”

” Everywhere, groups of children are being left behind, victims of prejudice and discrimination.Among the most vulnerable are children born into poverty, children of ethnic minorities, children in detention, Children on the Street and children with disabilities.”

He regretted that only a fraction of children whose rights are violated come forward and seek redress and even fewer obtained an effective remedy.

In her remark , Leticia Ayoola -Daniels , Acting Director Administration of Criminal Justice and Reforms department, said that the review of Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act, 2004 LFN became urgent after
an assessment of over 300 children in Borstal Institutions in the country.

“It became obvious that the legal framework of the juvenile justice system especially as it relates to children in detention needed to be reviewed and strengthened to meet human rights standards and international best practices,” she stated

Terms of reference of the committee is to produce a draft bill which will repeal the existing Act and bring it in conformity with the Child Rights Act, 2003, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the Correctional Services Act, 2019.

To bring the Act in conformity with international best practices and rules, treaties and conventions binding Nigeria.

To encourage a regime that promotes effective rehabilitation and reintegration of the students through which the juveniles will be given ‘progressive trust demanding personal decision, responsibility and self-control’.

To place emphasis on regular educational and vocational training regimen with a demanding physical training content.

To ensure that our Borstal Institutions comply with acceptable international and human rights standards.

To provide a controlled and standardized way of admitting Children into the Institutions and stated clearly that the Borstal Institute is not a drug rehabilitation centre and make it mandatory for juveniles to earn a percentage of the profit made from selling any of their work, eg. Handmade shoes, clothes, furniture etc.