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HRAN lauds Abuja court judgement on Kaduna bomber

Press statement by Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN)

Abuja November 16 2013:

The Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN) has commended the award of N150million as compensation to families of the three persons killed in the bombing of Kaduna office of Thisday Newspaper by Justice Ademola Adeniji of the Federal High Court Abuja. The award of the money compensation in a criminal proceeding is a sign that the judiciary is beginning to pay attention to the plight of victims of crime. HRAN also lauds the speedy conclusion of the case, and urges other courts handling criminal cases to give such cases priority through day to day trials so as to reduce the length of time accused persons are remanded in prison custody awaiting trial.

HRAN notes that the speeding up of this case was a result of the recent Practice Direction of the Chief Justice of Nigeria demand acceleration of criminal cases, especially those that concern terrorism. Provisions for such speedy proceedings are contained in the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill pending at the National Assembly. If passed into Law there will be legal basis for day to day trials and curtail of unnecessary adjournments in criminal cases. The bill if passed into law will also empower courts to award reasonable compensation to victims of crime, as was done by Justice Adeniji.

HRAN urges both chambers of the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency pass the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill into law so as improve criminal justice administration in the country.

HRAN calls on the Federal Government to pay without delay the awarded compensation to the families of the victims of Kaduna Thisday bombing as ordered by the court, and also compensate victims of several civil conflicts including those that suffered or lost properties and loved one in the Jos conflicts and in the Boko Haram insurgence.

Chino Obiagwu

Chair steering committee of HRAN

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