Enugu acting Chief Judge seeks vibrant, articulate judiciary
The Acting Chief Judge (CJ) of Enugu State, Justice Ngozi Emehelu, has emphasised the need for vibrant and articulate Bar to help ginger Judges and bring out the best in them.
She also spoke of the need for improved relationship between the Bar and Bench for effective dispensation and administration of justice, even as she called for improved infrastructure in the state’s courts.
Declaring open the 2016/2017 legal year of the state, Justice Emehelu identified inadequate and befitting court halls, inadequate Judges for the High and Customary Courts and inadequate court staff, among others, as some of the factors militating against speedy dispensation of justice in the state.
She, therefore, called on the state government to construct more court halls, especially at the Customary Court of Appeal complex, which she said had continued to operate in the old building used in the colonial era.
“In the same vein, the other judicial divisions and magisterial districts outside Enugu are yearning for construction of court halls, as most of the ones in existence, if not all, are dilapidated,” she said.
The CJ stated that as at December last year, about 23206 cases were pending at the state High Court, including 2386 criminal cases, 11834 civil, 591 appeals, 3216 divorce and 696 miscellaneous, while the Magistrate Courts have 12996 criminal cases, 9975 civil cases, 54 divorce and 181 miscellaneous and 754 cases at the Customary Court of Appeal.
Earlier during a Holy Mass at the Adoration Ministry in Emene, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka admonished Judges to be upright in the discharge of their duties, lamenting that many innocent Nigerians were languishing in various prisons.
He said: “For me, Judges should be beyond corruption, because they are like ‘God.’ If they make mistake in sentencing an innocent man, the person will die in jail. They can save life; they can destroy life.
“The judiciary should not be merchandised; nobody should think he can purchase justice.
“I raised the question about the arrest; are we sure that the Judges arrested are guilty of what they are accused of? For me, if Judges could be arrested, let them be well examined. If found culpable, punishment could be meted out.
“I suggested strongly that the arrest of Judges should not be selective; that the arrest should be 360 degrees coverage. So, if the Judges were arrested, what about those who gave the money? Were they exonerated?”
The cleric suggested that those who gave them the money, if actually they were given money for fraudulent purposes, should equally be arrested.
“So, the arrest should even go to the senators who were found culpable. It should go to the House of Representatives. It should even be extended to the executives. People working for President Muhammadu Buhari who are corrupt should equally be arrested.
“That is when the arrest should represent justice, equity and fair play. It should not be only for Judges only.
“The revolution that is going on in Nigeria is an attempt to sweep off corruption in all aspects of our lives and in the entire government structure, so that we don’t make corruption our culture.
“It is a revolutions that will exterminate corruption from the tap root, because corruption is becoming part and parcel of our political culture and almost accepted.
“The war against corruption is a welcome development, but should be prosecuted without bias,” he counseled.