Tallen, CSOs seek review of laws to protect the poor
Written by on July 1, 2022
Stakeholder have called for a review in laws that punishes poor people far more often and more harshly than the wealthy, often through pretrial detention and cash bail.
They made the call on Thursday at a National conference with the theme ‘Nigerian Criminal Justice System: The Criminalisation of Poverty in Nigeria’.
The conference was organised by a civil society organisation, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), in Abuja.
The conference was to examine Nigeria’s dysfunctional criminal justice system, which the organisers said unequally and disproportionately affected the poor and the most vulnerable in the society.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said it was imperative to review the justice system to support people faced with economic obstacles, rather than incarcerating them.
Tallen said there should also be well thought-out poverty alleviation programmes that entailed technological skills acquisition, vocational training, micro-lending intervention solutions, as a panacea to poverty.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma said that the event was aimed at finding ways to end the criminalisation of petty offences in Nigeria.
He said that this was necessary because the criminal justice system in the country, disproportionately affect the poor.
Nwanguma said that there were situations where people were sent to jail for stealing yam while `big men’ who steal huge amount of money get away with their crimes.
Nwanguma, therefore, said it was imperative to reform the judiciary system to become fair and just, ensure speedy dispensation of justice and equal protection to both the poor and the rich, without discrimination.
The conference was organised with support from the Open Society Initiatives for West Africa.