The Directorate of Public Prosecutions in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice has urged the general public, especially victims of harm, to take advantage of Restorative Justice(RJ) in the State as it is an alternative to incarceration or statutory punishment for minor offences.
The State’s Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Olayinka Adeyemi, stated this during an interview session on Lagos Traffic Radio, Ikeja on Tuesday to create awareness about restorative justice for victims and it’s benefits for the society as part of activities lined up to celebrate “Y2021 Restorative Justice Week”
She noted that the State’s Ministry of Justice under the leadership of the Commissioner for Justice and attorney-general, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has continued to ensure speedy dispensation of justice as outlined in the T.H.E.M.E.S development Agenda , which is key to an effective administration of justice in the State.
Adeyemi noted that Restorative Justice is about finding a way to establish communication between the offender and the victim.
“For offenders, the RJ program offers an opportunity to take responsibility for the harm they have caused and likewise the victims; it aims to reduce the feeling of anger”.
Expatiating more on RJ, Adeyemi noted that Restorative Justice seeks to promote and maintain healthy relationship between the offender and victim; respecting and listening to the opinions of the public as people are more likely to forgive when they tell their stories, repairing any harm done by offenders and ensuring that the parties involved in the crime do not go back to cause more harm in the society.
In addition, she said the Restorative Justice program will further decongest the courts, correctional facilities and also ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the State.
The Coordinator Prison Fellowship Nigeria and Member of the Lagos State Restorative Justice, Mr. Benson Iwuagwu, during the media appearance stated that the Restorative Justice Week has been celebrated annually to acknowledge the impacts and achievements of the RJ approach and its application in Nigeria while Lagos is hosting this year’s edition.
“Some of the benefits of Restorative Justice includes enhancing community involvement in the dispute resolution process, helping the victims and offenders live with the burden of offence and preventing re-offending”.
Iwuagwu said Restorative Justice Processes have great potential to empower victims and survivors of crimes and offer them closure, stating that RJ can serve victims of different types of crime most especially minor cases.
The coordinator also mentioned that the people affected by the crime should be able to take part in the resolution which can also be therapeutic to victims, offenders and the society at large.
The Director Public Prosecutions however added that residents can contact the Office of the Attorney General of Lagos State for more information on Restorative Justice.