The Lagos State judiciary will from this legal year start the implementation of the new Bail Information Management System (BIMS), to ensure the smooth running of the Administration of Criminal Justice in the state. BIMS is expected to document and computerise the total information of an accused person, the sureties, prison, and all persons involved in the prosecution of a case. It is expected that the grant of bail by magistrates and judges will become easier, and in turn, reduce the massive numbers of accused persons awaiting trial in prison cells.
Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade made this disclosure on Wednesday in Lagos at the Bar and Bench forum to mark the new legal year. She explained that BIMS, will capture the full documentation of the accused persons and their sureties including their biometrics.
The CJ maintained that BIMS is designed to address some of the unique challenges bedevilling the criminal justice system and to also see to the reduction of abuses by those she termed unscrupulous lawyers and professional sureties.
According to her, “The trials of suspects are usually delayed due to non-production in court by prison authorities who sometimes cannot even identify their specific places of remand. BIMS will be deployed in the 22 magisterial districts and the Lagos and Ikeja Divisions of the Lagos State High Court. The information will be linked to a centralised data base accessible to everybody and give judges and magistrates confidence to grant bail to suspects. It will help to address the issue of awaiting trial inmates because suspects can easily be tracked from the system.”
Justice Atilade therefore urged the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to give full support to the state judiciary in its bid to attaining it’s set objective of ensuring that justice is served on all.
She said that the judiciary under her watch would see to the improvement of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law in the state, maintained that the state judiciary would remain a model in Nigeria and indeed in Africa.
She also called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), to cooperate with the state judiciary so as to aid speedy dispensation of justice in the state. “The Lagos State judiciary will continue to perform of its responsibilities and also provide modern infrastructures that would also aid the quick dispensation of justice. We must be steadfast and honest while discharging our duties as officers in the temple of justice. We will ensure justice in all cases and at all times.”
Delivering a lecture on the topic, “The role of the Bar in attaining effective and efficient justice delivery,” Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Funke Adekoya expressed sadness over a situation where judges unnecessarily indulge lawyers in their various courts. This she said could hamper effective and efficient justice delivery.
While advising younger judges to balance such a development, Adekoya said there is the need for all judges to ensure that all cases placed before them ends up with a result. “Cases must be concluded, judgment must be handed down and record of proceedings must be made available. For lawyers, they must be able to embrace mediation, avoid objection to stay of proceedings, and avoid unnecessary applications for adjournment.”
In making known some of the challenges confronting the administration of justice in the state, as presented by chairmen of the four branches of the NBA in Lagos State, Ikeja branch chairman of NBA, Yinka Farounbi expressed the determination of the Bar to always cooperate and continue to partner with the judiciary in ensuring that an Ideal, efficient, effective and a corrupt free judicial system is achieved in the state.