The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON is expected to inaugurate the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) which is primarily charged with the handling high profile cases having public interest elements in Nigeria.

The formation of the Committee which will be inaugurated on Friday, 27th May, 2016 at the Presidential Villa, going by its spokesman, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah is pursuant to the powers vested on the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN as the nation’s Chief Law Officer as contained in Section 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution. 

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 174(1) vested the powers on the Attorney General of the Federation to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court martial, in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National Assembly.

The HAGF is also to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person. He is equally charged to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person. This is the position of the Constitution.”

Comrade Isah who doubles as the Media Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice revealed in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, that the 19-man Committee is charged with the efficient, effective and result oriented prosecution of high profile criminal cases in the country.

According to him, the Committee is also to guarantee prompt contact and synergy between investigators and the prosecutors of high profile criminal cases, manage information to the public on such cases as well as to ensure strict compliance to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

For its terms of reference, the NPCC is to advise the HAGF on the exercise of his prosecutorial powers in Section 150 and 174 of the 1999 Constitution, prepare the policy strategy document for the coordination of investigation and prosecution of high profile criminal cases in Nigeria and to also collate the list of such cases as well as assigning them to prosecution teams.

The Committee will scrutinize the proof of evidence and charges in high profile criminal cases in the country before arraignment. In addition, it will receive and analyse reports from the investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle such cases.

OBJECTIVE
The objective of NPCC are to-
Co-ordinate efficient, effective and result oriented investigation and prosecution of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria;
Ensure early contact and synergy between investigators and the prosecutors of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria;
Manage information to the public on High Profile Criminal Cases;
Ensure strict compliance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (‘‘the Act).
STRUCTURE
The structure of NPCC is as follows-
Honourable Attorney-General of Federation
The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation is by virtue of Section 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution the Chief Law Officer of the Federation. Therefore, he is responsible for the overall policy formulation and implementation of the entire scheme.
Section 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides-
The Attorney-General of the Federation shall have power
To institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court martial, in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National Assembly;
To take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person;
To discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person.
National Prosecution Co-ordination Committee (NPCC)
The National Prosecution Co-ordination Committee is a body comprising of nineteen (19) members; twelve (12) ex officio members and seven (7) external lawyers experienced in administration of criminal justice in Nigeria and other commonwealth jurisdictions. All members of the Committee shall be paid sitting allowances as may be determined by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The members are as follows-
  1. Mr. Taiwo Abidogun (Permanent Secretary / Solicitor General) - Chairman
  2. Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN Co-Chairman
  3. Professor Bolaji Owansoye (Executive Secretary, PAC) Vice Chairman
  4. M.S Diri (Director of Public Prosecution) Member
  5. Chukwuma Machukwu, SAN Member
  6. Chief Okoi Obono-Obla Member
  7. Pius Oteh, Esq) Member
  8. Mrs Juliet Ibekaku Member
  9. Abiodun Aikomo, Esq Member
  10. Kehinde Oginni, Esq Member
  11. Mr. Salihu Othman Isah Member
  12. Al-Amin Ado Ibrahim Member
  13. Nafiu Yakubu, Esq. Member
  14. Tunji Oluborode, Esq. (Crown Prosecution (UK) /DFID Consultant) Member
  15. Eric Onokif Ifere, Esq. (UK based Criminal defence expert / Consultant) Member
  16. Mrs. Diane Okoko (Consultant) Member
  17. Temitope Adebayo, Esq.(Consultant) Member
  18. DIG Abdulrahman Yusuf (Rtd) Member
  19. Sylvester Imhanobe, Esq. Member /Secretary 
The terms of reference of the NPCC include to-
Advice the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF) on the exercise of his prosecutorial powers in section 150 and 174 of the 1999 Constitution;
Prepare the policy strategy document for the co-ordination of investigation and prosecution of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria;
Collect the list of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria and assign the cases to prosecution teams;
Scrutinise the proof of evidence and charges in High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria before arraignment;
Coordinate investigation activities of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria
Receive and analyse reports from the investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle High Profile Cases in Nigeria;
Prepare and submit to the HAGF monthly report of High Profile Criminal Cases supervised by the committee;
Serve as liaison between the HAGF and the investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria;
Sensitize the public on the conduct of High Profile Criminal Cases in Nigeria;
Make rules for its proceedings ;

Carry out any other directives issued by the HAGF;
To undertake any other matter incidental to the achievement of the objective of the Committee as approved by the HAGF.
Prosecution Teams
The Scheme will start with twenty (20) Prosecution Teams. The selection of the members of the Prosecution Teams is based first and foremost on competence, integrity, knowledge and experience in prosecution of criminal cases; other qualities include national spread, gender and belief in the vision of government to drive anti-corruption programme of Buhari administration.

In addition, each Prosecution Team has an officer of the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the Federal Ministry of Justice. They are included in each team mainly to help build capacity as they work with the more experienced team leaders, and to serve as liaison officers between the Prosecution Team and the National Prosecution Co-ordination Committee. 

It is one of the cornerstones of the fight against corruption. The Committee shall be inaugurated by His Excellency, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Friday the 27th May 2016 @ 9.30am prompt at the VP Conference Room, State House, Abuja.

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