As part of efforts to ensure speedy dispensation of Criminal Justice in the State, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions Lagos State of Ministry of Justice, on Thursday sensitized the residents of Bariga LCDA on the importance of witnesses during court proceedings and the needed support available for them.
The Deputy Director, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Adetutu Oshinusi assured the residents of the State Government’s unwavering 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 added that the lackadaisical attitudes of residents towards crimes committed around them has led to an upsurge in crime in the State and country at large.
“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.
The Director, however, urged the resident to be courageous in reporting crimes to the Police as good citizens and credible witnesses towards ensuring appropriate punishment under the law, is given to perpetrators of such Crimes.
While responding to a question on the safety of Witnesses, Ms. Oshinusi noted that the Witness Support Unit collaborates with other government agencies to provide needed support to 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 amongst others” , she said.
Also speaking at the sensitization programme, a Deputy -Director in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Adesola Adekunle -Bello urged residents to shun all forms of intimidation as the unit will provide adequate protection to all witnesses during and after court proceedings.
She added that all communication line between witnesses and the support unit is 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.
While 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 Witness Support Sensitization Campaign will be taken to all Bariga residents inorder to attain a safe and peaceful community.
Likewise, the Baale of Obanikoro, High Chief Kabiru Braimoh who applauded the State Government’s efforts in bringing Justice closer to the people through the Witness Support Sensitization Campaign implored the Ministry of Justice on the need to establish annex offices at all LCDA and LGA’s in the State .