Justice: Over 2,926 murder, rape, civil litigation cases under prosecution in eight months
By Monsur Olowoopejo
The Lagos State Government is presently, prosecuting no fewer than 2,926 court cases involving murder, rape as well as civil litigations across various courts in the state.
This was contained in the quarterly publication made available by the state government to mark the second quarterly town hall meetings of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state, stating the activities of the government ministries and agencies.
The state Ministry of Justice, while rendering its activities in the second quarter of the present administration, added that the state Citizen Mediation Centre, CMC and the Office of the Public Defender, OPD and the Directorate for Citizens Rights, DCR assisted residents of the state to recover over N309 million (N309, 943, 513), through debts settlement and compensations for clients in various matters.
While giving a breakdown of the ongoing cases, the government explained that 1, 536 of these cases were on rape, murder and others.
Notable among the cases is the case against the Board of Trustees of the Synagogue Church Of All Nation, SCOAN, and the engineers involved in the construction of the collapsed building.
The government stated that there are 1,390 cases on civil litigations (legal disputes between two or more parties that seek money damages or specific performance rather than criminal sanctions) in Magistrate, High Courts, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Statistics on litigations
The state government however, provided free legal services to residents of the state within the quarter under review. The CMC resolved a total of 5,725 cases for residents, while OPD addressed 1,290 cases ranging from rape, child abuse and other domestic violence cases.
Also, DCR received 633 human rights petitions out of which 487 cases were completely resolved free and 100 cases were treated by Public Advise Centre, PAC.
On the recovered fund, the ministry through OPD recovered N218, 062, 371, CMC; N88, 539, 142 while DCR recovered N3, 342, 000 in the cases attended to by the agencies as debts settlement and compensation for residents in the state.
However, N13, 950, 782, as death benefits payment was facilitated through the Office of Administrator General and Public Trustee to beneficiaries.
The government further disclosed that the legal advisory Unit completed work on over 137 police investigation files within the period under review.
On Community service
Meantime, in a bid to reduce prison congestion in the state, 789 offenders were sentenced to different hours of community services across the magistrate districts in the state.
Community service is a non-custodial sentence in the criminal justice system of the state aimed at reducing prison congestion in the state.
Through the sentencing option, convicted offenders are allowed to serve their sentences within the community and not in prisons.
The State Community Service Unit uses recognized state government agencies and facilities, including courts, councils, and government hospitals as work placement centre for the offenders.
The government earlier said that the community service was an option available to judges and magistrates in order to ensure that offenders were not sent to prison for every minor infraction of the state law.