By Ogochukwu Isioma in Benin City
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has sworn-in the new Acting Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa, assuring accelerated judicial reforms in the state.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony held at New Festival Hall in Government House, Benin City, Obaseki said his administration’s achievements in the past six and half years was chiefly facilitated by an atmosphere of order and sanity guaranteed by a proactive judiciary which continues to promote a just and fair society.
He noted that his administration believes that the Judiciary remains the bastion of democracy, which prompted investment in the Judiciary and the judicial system, to ensure a conducive work environment for judicial officers.
According to him: “Our achievement in these past years was facilitated by the atmosphere of order and sanity guaranteed by a proactive judiciary which has continued to promote a just and fair society.
“In the last six and half years, the Executive arm of the Edo State Government has tried to maintain a cordial relationship with the Judiciary and this has paved the way for the sustenance of law and order and respect for the rule of law in the state.
“We are conscious of the need for better welfare for judicial officers in the State and have started that process. We have built the first set of Judges Quarters to ensure that Judges are guaranteed better and safe living conditions while they discharge their responsibility.
“We have also ensured that judicial officers working outside the capital city are provided with better courthouses and living accommodation to carry out their duties in a decent environment.”
The governor said his administration will continue to advance and support reforms in the Judiciary and respect its independence to ensure the Judiciary lives up to its mandate of upholding justice in Edo State.
“For us, how do we re-enact our judiciary to an era that produced great jurists like Justice Obaseki, Justice Akpata and Justice Uwaifo? To achieve this, we must insist on hiring judicial officers mainly based on merit. The new acting Chief Judge has the responsibility to continue and sustain the laudable reforms of the outgoing Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Joe Acha.”
He added: “For us in Edo State, we will continue to accelerate reforms and help in the digitization of records, processes and procedures. My aim is that before we leave office next year, we will connect all our High Courts in Edo State to one central system. Before the end of this year, we would have laid fibre optic connection to all the High Courts in Edo State.
“I would like to see an improved welfare package for our Judicial officers as the work which has started in repositioning our Magistracy should be accelerated. I also take it that we can continue to count on the Judiciary under your leadership, as we advance reforms to maintain law and order, working hard to make Edo State great again and making it the best place to work and live in Nigeria.”
The acting Chief Judge Hon. Justice Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa thanked the Governor and the Government of Edo State for honour to serve the State and its people.