Oyo State government promises to uphold rule of law, reform judiciary
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has said that his administration will uphold the rule of law and reform the judiciary to enhance quick dispensation of justice.
Makinde made the pledge yesterday in his address at the opening of the 2019/2020 Legal Year in the state.
The event was held simultaneously at Saint James Cathedral Church, Oke-Bola, Ibadan, and Ibadan Central Mosque, Oja’ba.
Makinde was represented in the mosque by his deputy, Alhaji Rauf Olaniyan, while he was also represented in the church by Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun.
“The present administration in Oyo State believes so much in the rule of law and will always do all within its power to ensure that those who are saddled with the high honour of administering justice in the state shall be people, who will discharge their sacred and constitutional duties with candour and a deep sense of dedication.
“The judiciary must be independent. An independent, courageous and incorruptible judiciary is, therefore, a ‘sine qua non’ for the maintenance of the Rule of Law,” the governor said.
The Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Ibadan, Most Revd Joseph Akinfenwa, delivered the sermon during the service in the church, while Prof. Wole Abass of the Department of Islamic and Arabic Studies, University of Ibadan, delivered the sermon in the mosque.
The clerics, who prayed for the judiciary, the state, and the country, enjoined judicial officers to deliver judgments with the fear of God, and bring justice closer to the people.
Akinfenwa urged the judges to strengthen the system and make legal services available to the downtrodden and the poor people, saying that the most downtrodden people are silent because they cannot afford legal representation.
He emphasised that unless the poor are helped, the incidence of rapes and sexual assault would continue to fester.
The cleric, therefore, implored the government to look into the welfare of the judges and provide adequate security to them so that they can concentrate on duty.
According to him: “We should do more to make lives more comfortable for them. It is the supreme duty of the government to protect judges that will preside over critical cases. We need to do more to provide security for our judges.”
Meanwhile, Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, in an interview with journalists yesterday on the sidelines of the opening the new legal year, also said the National Judicial Council (NJC) had granted approval for the state to appoint three new judges to bridge the gap of shortage in the number of judges in the judiciary arm of the state.
He said that if the number of cases in the court were considered, he would say the state does not have enough judges, adding that statutorily in the High Court, there should be “about 40 judges and above. But presently, we are 26. Within that context, we do not have enough judges.
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