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Importance of witnesses to proceedings, by Lagos DPP

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By Adebisi Onanuga

 

 

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Lagos State of Ministry of Justice has reiterated the importance of witnesses to court proceedings.

It stated this during the sensitisation for the residents of Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

The move is part of the efforts to ensure speedy dispensation of criminal justice in the state.

The Deputy Director, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Adetutu Oshinusi, assured the residents of the government’s  support for witnesses through the Witness Support Unit.

Ms. Oshinusi said the Witness Support Unit was established under the Directorate of Public Prosecutions a few years ago to  provide support to victims of crime and to ensure their protection from external forces.

She said the lackadaisical attitudes of residents towards crimes committed around them had led to  upsurge in  crime.

“We are all guilty of the increased rate of crimes in our community and state on daily basis as we turn deaf ears to things happening around us as a result of fear,” she said.

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The Director, however, urged the residents to be courageous in reporting crimes to the Police to ensure that  appropriate punishment was meted out under the law, is given to perpetrators of such crimes.

On the safety of witnesses, Ms. Oshinusi noted that the Unit collaborates with other government agencies to provide  support for witnesses, especially children and the vulnerable in the community.

“The Witness Support Unit provides witnesses with numerous support as needed, ranging from psychosocial, financial to security, especially for Witnesses of assaults, defilement, rape, armed robbery, among others,” she said.

Also, a Deputy Director, DPP, Mrs. Adesola Adekunle-Bello urged residents to shun  intimidation as the unit would provide adequate protection to  witnesses during and after court proceedings.

In a statement, Director,  Public  Affairs, Kayode Oyekanmi said  communication lines  between witnesses and the unit  were confidential.

Mrs. Adekunle-Bello noted that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu is keen on ensuring the effective administration of criminal justice in the state towards creating a crime-free environment for all.

Commending the initiative of the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the Chairman Bariga LCDA, Hon. Alabi Kolade David, assured that the campaign would be taken to  residents of the area to attain a safe and peaceful community.

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Baale of Obanikoro, High Chief Kabiru Braimoh,  applauded the government’s efforts in bringing justice closer to the people through the campaign.

He implored  the Ministry of Justice on the need to establish annex offices at LCDAs and LGAs to  bring justice delivery closer to the people.



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