By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Governor Udom Emmanuel has implored judicial officers in Akwa Ibom State to ensure utmost care in granting bail to persons involved in serious offences such as rape and cult related cases.
The Governor made the call on Monday in Uyo at the opening of the 2020/2021 Legal Year of Akwa Ibom State Judiciary.
Governor Emmanuel who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo said the Judiciary must assist the Executive in the fight against rape, child abuse, trafficking, drugs and other notorious crimes.
“As the third arm of the governing tripod, I urge you to continue to give the government your support as we work hard to create a safe, secure, peaceful and prosperous society for our people.” He said.
According to him, the Bar and the Bench should expedite the process where those who violate the law are speedily brought to trial while those found to be innocent are released to decongest prisons.
“I commend the Judiciary for starting this Legal Year on a sound footing, by reverencing God Almighty as the overall custodian of justice. By this act, you have renewed our hopes and faith that the Judiciary as in previous years, will continue to live up to its cardinal responsibilities as the interpreters of the constitutional guaranteed rights of the citizens of Akwa Ibom State,” Governor Emmanuel said.
The State’s Chief Executive said he was convinced that the Judiciary would continue to dispense justice equitably and remain the last hope of the common man, by upholding the rule of law and depending democratic traditions and growth.
Governor Emmanuel acknowledged cordial relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary and pledged commitment to continue to foster the partnership.
In his address, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Godwin Abraham said to reposition the Judiciary for effective dispensation of justice, there is the need to employ new staff.
“The last time we had staff recruitment was in 2013. Since then, over 600 staff have retired from service. The lacuna is creating untold hardship in the system. Again, to guarantee smooth functioning of the Judicial Arm of Government in the State, there is need for enhanced funding. Justice Abraham said.
He said “I am aware that the issue of Judicial Financial Autonomy is before the Supreme Court and would not want to make an elaborate comment on it. But the simple solution to it, is for State Government to be willing to implement Section 121 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). That is to pay the Judiciary on a monthly basis the percentage as approved in the budget of the State, all monies accruing to the State for that month. This approach is a lot easier than going to the Supreme Court.
The Chief Judge pointed out that “the Judiciary plays a formidable role in the stability of the land and the enhancement of democracy, growth and development. Judicial officers need courage, strength and integrity to discharge their functions creditably. We must continue to shun undue influence and ensure that Justice is served out to everyone evenly.”