The Lagos Restorative Justice Centre domiciled in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, on Wednesday, at the Magistrate Court, Samuel Ilori Court House, Ogba, Lagos, organized a sensitization Programme on victim/offender Mediation (VOM).
The VOM provides interested victims an opportunity to meet their offender, in a safe and structured setting.
Delivering the keynote address, the Chief Judge of Lagos State who also serves as the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Sector Reform Committee (CJSRC), Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba noted that the restorative system of justice is not alien but has been in existence for over three decades and in practice in other countries, hence the adoption by the State Justice System to ensure peaceful resolution of disputes.
Justice Alogba ably represented by Hon. Justice Nicole Clay stated that the traditional justice system has suffered many setbacks with evident increases in the rate of crime, long prosecution process and overcrowding of correctional facilities amongst others.
Whilst commending the RJ Team on a job well done, the Chief Judge also expressed his gratitude towards participants and wished everyone a fruitful deliberation.
The Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Ms Titilayo Shitta-bey in her address stated that Restorative Justice is a form of alternative dispute resolution, deployed as a tool for decongesting less serious cases in the dockets of the court system and invariably the overcrowded correctional centres”.
“In restorative justice, its processes are mindful with just one goal which is Justice and Healing for offender, victim and society”.
Shitta-bey further stated that the establishment of the Lagos State Restorative Justice Centre is simply to raise awareness and build support for the restorative justice programme as well as collaborate with relevant stakeholders in implementing this model of Justice.
The Director, of Community Service, Lagos Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Tomi Bodude stressed that community service is another important component of restorative justice used as a means of repairing damage to the community.
“Court-ordered community service requires an offender to perform a specific number of hours of free work for a charitable agency, non-profit organisation, or governmental agency, and it can be ordered as a condition of probation or as an alternative to incarceration. Generally, a nonviolent offender is assigned to community service, and careful screening must occur to ensure that the offender is appropriate for the site and vice versa while ensuring public safety”.
Bolude further noted that the benefits of community service are very similar to those of restitution which can help to change an offender’s values.
Speaking during the sensitization campaign, the coordinator of, the Restorative Justice Centre, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, stated that the concept of RJ is the practical application of some of the components of ADR to criminal matters and causes.
The Coordinator further explained that during the Victim Offender Mediation(VOM), the victim and offender are brought together to repair the harm while the offender is reintegrated back into society to achieve a sense of healing for both parties.
Oluwafemi however reiterated the State Government’s resolve to ensure an effective dispensation of justice whereby people can walk into the centre to make enquiries as well as file complaints.
It should be recalled that the Lagos State Restorative Justice Centre began a three-day sensitization campaign on Tuesday, 13th of June at the Girls Correctional Home, Idi-araba and a Walk for Restorative Justice from Akilo Street, Ogba, to Samuel Ilori Court House where the legal clinic was organized.
The sensitization Programme will be finalized on Thursday with a visit to the Maximum, Medium and Female Correctional Centres, in Kirikiri, Lagos.BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis