The Ministry of Justice was created in 1996 upon the creation of Nasarawa State. The Ministry prosecutes civil and criminal cases; and renders legal advice to Government Parastatals, commissions and Boards, Agencies, Extra Ministerial Departments and the Nigerian Police Force. The Ministry is headed by the Attorney –General and Commissioner for Justice with the Solicitor –General and Permanent Secretary who is also the accounting officer assisting him. To handle these responsibilities diligently, the Ministry is divided into six (6) departments and each is headed by a director. These are :
Law Reform, Planning, Research & Statistics
Administration and Supply
Finance and Accounts
The Ministry has continued with its traditional role of advising the state government on all legal matters as well as prosecuting both civil and criminal matters.
Some functions include-
a. Prosecution of all criminal matters including offences
b. Handling of all civil matter on behalf of the State, Local Government and government agencies within Nasarawa state.
c. Giving legal advice on criminal cases including motor traffic offences.
d. Drafting and vetting of legal instruments and contract documents.
e. Rendering legal advice to Government, Ministries, Departments and government owned companies as well as Local Government Councils.
f. Prosecution of cases before the miscellaneous offences tribunals on behalf of the Federal Attorney –General and Minister of Justice.
g. The Ministry is involved in the drafting of State Laws.
This is a very crucial directorate , as it has the responsibility to prosecute all Criminal Cases among other important functions, Specifically the directorate does the following:
I. Renders legal advice to the Nigerian Police Force and other Government Ministries and Parastatals with regard to offences that are criminal in nature.
II. Prosectution of criminal cases before the various courts within and outside the state.
III. Holding quarterly meeting with the prison authority and various police departments
IV. Conducting pre-trial interviews with complainants and other relevant witnesses that will assist in the successful prosecution of various criminal cases.
V. The department is fully involved in the jail delivery sessions conducted by the Chief Judge of the state , with the aim of decongesting the over populated prisons.
VI. The director of the department is Secretary of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
The Directorate of Civil Litigations is responsible for initiating and defending civil suits on behalf of Government and her agencies in all courts. The department handles a plethora of cases ranging from land matters , contract, legislative interpretation and labour law.
Directorate of Law Reform , Planning , Research and Statistics
This department is responsible for advising the government on the reform of the substantive and procedural laws applicable in the way of codification , elimination of anomalous of obsolete laws and general simplification of the law to make circumstances better in accordance with the general direction issued by the Government. The department also assists in the Ministry’s capacity building plan , budget plans and maintenance of the records of activities of the Ministry. The department is also the Research Outlet of the Ministry. Specifically, the department does the following:
Obtaining and collecting a comprehensive list of all laws of the state
Undertaking critical examination of various laws of the state .
Preparing programmes for the examination of different branches of the laws of the state with a view to recommending reform.
Preparing from time to time a comprehensive programmes of statute law revision and consolidation and undertake the preparation of draft legislation pursuant to any such programme.
Recommendation to the Governor for the establishment of law which may be of interest to the state.
Undertaking research into any relevant aspect of law which may be of interest to the state.
Conducting research into any relevant aspect of law which may be of interest to the state.
Conduct research in such area as the remote and immediate causes of perennial ethnic and communal conflicts in the state with a view to finding legal mechanism for solutions to them to facilitate peaceful co-existence amongst ethnic groups in the state.
Our policy goal is to continue to deliver effective and efficient legal services to the State and Local Government, their department and agencies at all times. And to draft bills , contract agreements or vet same without undue delay. Generally, the Ministries target is perfoming our functions optimally to the satisfaction of Government and all concerned. In the same vein , the welfare of all staff shall be taken care of seriously to encourage them for better performance. Amongst our development strategies is training and retraining of Counsel to build and enhance their professional capacity. More counsel will attend relevant workshops , seminars and conferences to broaden their knowledge and keep them more abreast with current trends in law and its application.
The ministry shall broaden and expand its operational base by establishing more area offices so as to take justice to the doorsteps of the people. Currently , we have only one area office at Keffi, and the Ministry intends to establish more of such offices at Lafia, Akwanga, Karu and Obi to swiftly attend to the numerous cases arising from such places.