The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has given fiat to the Attorneys General of the 36 states of the federation to enable them to prosecute offences created by federal legislation but committed by offenders in their respective states.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after a meeting held in Abuja on Thursday between the AGF and the state Attorneys General under the auspices of the Body of Attorneys General.
With the fiat now issued to the state AGs, they will be able to prosecute offences such as kidnapping, human trafficking, terrorism, drug-related offences, economic and financial crimes, cyber-crimes, copyright breaches, among others created by federal laws.
The body commended the AGF for issuing the fiat to the various state AGs, but also urged the minister to publish it in the Federal Government’s gazette.
The communiqué signed by the AGF, read in part, “The body commends the decision of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to grant a general fiat to states’ Attorneys General to prosecute federal offences in their respective states on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation.
Malami had said during the meeting that the step was to enhance quick dispensation of criminal cases and to reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates in the nation’s prisons.
The body also adopted the proposed National Policy on Prosecution, Code of Conduct and Guidelines for Prosecutors in the country.
Addressing the forum, the AGF explained that the adoption of the policy and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 by the states of the federation would, among others, promote effective and efficient criminal justice administration.
He said it would also remove impediments to speedy dispensation of justice, protect the society from crime and protect the rights and interest of defendants, victims and the society at large.
Malami noted that the fear that a national and uniform adoption of the policy documents would infringe on the autonomy of the states was unfounded.
He explained that the policy only sought to provide a framework for all prosecutors and prosecuting agencies in achieving higher prosecution standards.