REPLACE evolved in the context of a project to model interventions for managing Pre-Trial Detention (PTD project) and develop a Police Duty-Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) in Nigeria. This project began in 2004 and is a pioneer civil society effort to respond to the seemingly intractable problem of ‘awaiting trial persons’ in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.
The project identified key points along the chain of criminal investigation and prosecution which sustain the large numbers of pre-trial detainees with the attendant long periods of pre-trial detention. Principal project partners were the Nigeria Police Force, the Legal Aid Council and the Open Society Justice Initiative. Project activities commenced in 2004, in four pilot states of Imo, Kaduna, Ondo and Sokoto. Activities were extended to Plateau and Rivers in March 2006. Positive initial results from the project showing significant reductions in pre-trial detention and duration in the pilot States encouraged its institutionalization and persuaded the founding partners of the PTD project to support the establishment of REPLACE as a not-for-profit to pursue these project objectives on a more sustainable basis.