Abuja - The Federal Government has been urged to adopt restorative justice system as an option for the contemporary criminal justice system, which is characterised by punishment of offenders through imprisonment.
The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, Ade Ipaye, made the call at a two-day National Prison and Restorative Justice Conference on Thursday in Abuja.
Some of the problems facing criminal justice system could be resolved with adoption of restorative justice in dealing with cases, said Ipaye at the conference, organised by the Prison Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Abuja chapter.
He said the problems included prison congestion, funding, long duration of civil litigation, abuse of court process by unmerited interlocutory applications, non-compliance with the courts orders and judgments.
Ipaye, who was represented by Babajide Martins, the Deputy Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution, Lagos State at the conference, said that restorative justice also had the potential for a large number of cases to be resolved out of the court.
He said that the Lagos State Government, with the introduction of sections 347 and 348 in the Administration of Justice Law, 2011, had introduced restorative justice in the state.
He said the government had also started imposing community punishment and community service in lieu of sentence and fine.
Earlier, the Chairperson, PFN Board, Dorcas Din, urged the federal and state governments to support the fellowship on programme that could transform the lives of prisoners and the society at large.
“Prison fellowship is ready to partner with the government to foster systems which are both restorative and transformational and which will reduce crime and ensure safer communities,” Din said.
The chairman of PFN, Abuja chapter, Yinka Oyewole, noted that the fellowship had been contributing its quota to the reform of the Nigerian prison.
Oyewole expressed the optimism that the conference would help to address some of the challenges facing justice and prison system of the country.