Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project has recorded actions by relevant policymakers regarding the administration of criminal justice which included the establishment of the Benue State and Bayelsa State Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) following the advocacy efforts of SCALE cluster members, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Justice Network (SJN) cluster anchored by Lawyers Alert (LA) in Benue State and the Civic Space Watch Cluster anchored by the Stakeholder Development Network (SDN) in Rivers and Bayelsa state. Their advocacy efforts include a drive to protect civic freedoms such as access to justice, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and press freedom.
The ACJMC was established by section 469 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. The Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) covers pre-trial processes, trial proceedings, and case management, and the committee is set to ensure courts across the Benue state and Bayelsa states are complying with the provisions of the ACJA.
A committee has been inaugurated on June 9 and June 14, 2022, in Benue and Bayelsa states respectively to ensure courts across both states are complying with the provisions of the (ACL).
In both states, members of the cluster have been appointed as a member of these committees. The committee constitutes Barrister Emmanuel Okpala, the Principal Solicitor of Emmanuel N. Okpala & Co from the Civic Space Watch Cluster, and the Monitoring and Evaluation officer, Barrister Jerome Uneje from the Justice Network (SJN) cluster as members of the committee to represent civil society.
These committees have been empowered by law to monitor the implementation of the law and report at specific intervals to the Chief Judge of the states.