Cross River State Judiciary makes history, issues sentencing guidelines developed with support of EU and UNODC
The Cross River State Judiciary has made history as the first State in Nigeria to issue Sentencing Guidelines. This practice directions were signed into law by Honourable Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam, the Chief Judge of Cross River State on 8 August 2016. This landmark achievement represents a feat in judicial efforts to set benchmarks to guide judges and magistrates in the exercise of their sentencing discretion in order to achieve a level of uniformity and transparency in sentencing convicted persons. Other States in Nigeria are expected to adopt similar guidelines to enhance existing criminal procedure laws.
Development of the Sentencing Guideline is an activity drawn from the action plan of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee (FJRSCC) and funded by the European Union (EU) under the ''Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria'' and "Support to anti- Corruption in Nigeria" projects. These projects are implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Guidelines were developed with technical support from the projects in collaboration with the Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) and other national stakeholders. The development process commenced with a national stakeholders meeting to review the first draft in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom State capital in November 2013, followed by another meeting in 2014 in Calabar, Cross River State and several reviews to bring it the final stage.
The Sentencing Guidelines cover seven areas including: offences against the State; offences against the person; offences against public order; offences against morality; offences against property; homicide offences and corruption related offences.