Through the Justice for All Programme we work with stakeholders across the whole Nigerian justice sector (both formal and informal) to improve access to justice and personal safety for all Nigerians. Building on the success of the predecessor programme – the Security, Justice and Growth Programme – our project team helps to improve the capacity, accountability and responsiveness of key justice and security institutions and support them in working with civil society as part of a co-ordinated and equitable justice sector.
Justice sector reform teams
Twelve co-ordination groups have been established at the federal and state levels to drive a broad range of activities, including supporting timely case resolution and improved case management across the sector and enabling citizens to access their rights.
Access to good quality, objective justice for poorer citizens has been increased through improvements in the lower courts, customary courts, traditional ruler’s justice and village mediation services. The Citizens Mediation Centre in Lagos State has received support (and has handled more than 28,000 cases in one year) and 141 traditional rulers from Dutse Emirate in Jigawa State have been trained in human rights, alternate dispute resolution and gender issues. The Justice Sector and Law Reform Commission is now replicating this training for 900 more traditional rulers using the materials developed.
Community policing and Model Police Stations
With key stakeholders, a community policing strategy has been developed, focusing on answering the needs of the community and improving police service standards. Twelve Model Police Stations have been extablished in Lagos, Enugu, Niger Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa and the Federal Capital Territory, including Family Support Units to support victims of gender-based and domestic violence. As a result of the interventions, community satisfaction with the police has risen (by more than 15 per cent in some states) in their first year of operation.
The programme, through its grant fund for civil society organisations, has also helped establish two Sexual Assault Referral Centres, the Mirabel Centre in Lagos and the Tamar Centre in Enugu. In its first year of activity the Mirabel Centre has dealt with over 270 clients. These centres provide a range of services to clients who have suffered sexual assaults. The programme is actively pursuing the establishment of further centres in other focal states.
Support has been provided to improve the performance of the Voluntary Police Services (neighbourhood protection guards and vigilante groups) in Model Police Station jurisdictions. Community Accountability Forums have been set up and have resolved nearly 80 local safety issues in the first year across six sites in Lagos, Kano and Enugu.
The major anti-corruption agencies have been assisted in the development and implementation of strategic plans. The creation of national strategies on anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and asset recovery has been supported through Justice for All. Cross-agency information exchange has also been improved. Support provided through the programme was central to helping the anti-corruption agencies recover stolen assets of over £700 million overall.
‘Our perception, view and vision have changed. It is no longer about laying blame across institutions in the justice sector, but having a unified objective to ensure speedy delivery of justice.’
Justice Darius Khobo, High Court Judge and Chairperson of the Kaduna Justice Sector Co-ordination Group in Kaduna State, Nigeria