By Akanji Alowolodu, Gombe
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya says his administration is committed to the improvement of welfare of judiciary workers through training and capacity building in order to equip the judicial arm with requisite knowledge and resources to successfully discharge its responsibilities.
Governor Yahaya stated this while speaking at a ceremony to mark the commencement of the 2020/2021 legal year held at the State High Court Complex, Gombe.
He said the occasion is an opportunity for the judiciary to reflect on its past, strategize about its present and plan for the future, in view of the changes that took place over the last one year.
“The outgoing 2019/2020 legal year was challenging due to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to widespread restrictions of movement and other disruptions that slowed down the administration of justice, that notwithstanding, the year was also remarkable to us in Gombe as we witnessed the opening of the Court of Appeal Gombe Division, further bringing appellate justice closer to our people”.
Governor Yahaya said in spite of the challenges of the past one year, his administration must commend the judiciary for its laudable achievements and successes, especially with respect to speedy dispensation of justice by the lower courts.
“It is remarkable that despite all those challenges, the judiciary rose to the occasion by introducing reforms and adopting innovative ways to quicken the administration of justice”.
The Governor, however said more still needs to be done in order to speed up judicial dispensation and decongest the prisons.
He said as an independent arm of government, the judiciary carries the hope and aspirations of the people in their search for justice, equity and fairness, saying that was why judicial officers must live above board and exude the values of honesty, integrity and patriotism.
“With the emergence of new crimes and social vices, the need for a vibrant and responsive judiciary cannot be more compelling. The task of dispensing justice is a collective responsibility. From the security official enforcing law and order, to the civil servant discharging his responsibility, to ordinary citizens for being law abiding, we all have a role to play”.
Governor Yahaya said it is only through justice and equity that the society can prosper and grow, and therefore called on the judicial officers to work in harmony with all stakeholders towards achieving the desired goal of entrenching a crime-free and peaceful society.
He said his administration is aware of the challenges facing the judiciary and is working hard to address them despite financial challenges due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have witnessed the execution of projects that are aimed at improving the welfare of our judicial staff. This includes the provision of decent accommodation for judges as well as various administrative support. In the 2020/2021 Legal Year, we shall continue to offer the necessary support to create the enabling environment for effective administration of justice in Gombe State”.
The Governor commended the State Ministry of Justice, judges of the State High Courts, Sharia Courts and all lower courts, judicial officials and all other stakeholders for their continuous service and sacrifice.
“As we mark the commencement of the new legal year, I would like to call on our judges to dispense justice without fear or favor and ensure speedy determination of cases as Justice delayed is Justice denied”.
Earlier speaking, the Acting Chief Justice of Gombe State, Justice Muazu Pindiga said as a tradition in the judiciary, the legal year is designed to take stock of the preceding year, review and plan for the new legal year with a view to ascertaining if the judiciary is on the track of dispensing justice.
He commended the friendly disposition of Governor Yahaya to the Judiciary, saying in the area of training the Governor has done remarkably well through the provision of laptops and other E-learning materials to Judges, Khadis of both high and Sharia courts and Directors, enabling them to carry out their functions virtually during lockdown occasioned by the covid-19 Pandemic.
The Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Zubair Muhammad Umar told the gathering that the year 2020 has been the best year for the judiciary both in terms of infrastructures and human capital development.
“When this administration came on board, we met a Ministry in serious infrastructural deficit with more than 50 lawyers sharing one ten-room block but when we made this known to the Governor he immediately ordered the construction of a brand new 12-room block and a large conference hall, all fully furnished. The Governor also improved the judiciary’s monthly running cost with which we were able to renovate the 10- room block among others”.
Chairman of the state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Haruna Yelma commended Governor Yahaya for his laudable efforts in managing the resources of the state in spite of the poor economic situation he inherted.
The NBA Chairman assured the Governor of the association’s unflinching support and partnership towards realising his goal to taking the state to an enviable height.
Highlights of the occasion included guard of honour mounted by the men of the state command of the Nigeria Police and a special court session as contained in a statement by Ismaila Uba Misilli, Director-General, (Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe.