Gombe Judiciary records success in 2020
Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe
The Gombe State Judiciary has described its performance in the 2020 Legal Year as a success despite the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Acting Chief Judge of Gome State, Justice Mu’azu Pidiga, said the judiciary heard and determined 13, 663 civil and criminal cases in the year under review.
Justice Pindiga said out of the number, 11, 300 heard and determined cases were from the Areas, Magistrate and District Courts, while the remaining 2, 363 pending cases were being carried over to 2021.
He said the Gombe State Judiciary had realized N26, 072, 148 26m in the year under review, despite the Covid-19 lockdown, attributing the revenue generated to the effective management and constant supervision of revenue generating points in the judiciary.
The Acting Chief Judge, however, regretted that the Criminal Justice Committee could not undertake its usual jailed delivery programme in order to decongest the prisons in the state.
“The Criminal Justice Committee under my chairmanship could not undertake the jailed delivery exercise in order to decongest the prisons in the state, by reviewing cases of inmates who required such review due to ill-health or detention for periods longer than the sentences for the crimes for which they were held. We could not undertake the exercise due to restriction of entry into the Correctional Centres for fear of contamination of Covid-19. We regret this. We hope that this year we will witness a different approach”, he said.
State of Courts
Pindiga notified Governor Yahaya on the state of courts in the state, which he said were mostly in rented places and dilapidated states, thereby calling for their rehabilitation.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya equally commended the judiciary in the state, saying despite the Covid-19 restrictions, it performed remarkably, listing the opening of the Court of Appeal, Gombe Division, bringing appellate justice closer to the people.
He lauded the speedy dispensation of justice by the lower courts and that despite the challenges; the judiciary introduced reforms and adopted innovative ways to quicken the administration of justice.
Governor Yahaya, however, said more needed to be done to speed up judicial dispensation and decongest the prisons, calling on judicial officers to live above board and display the values of honesty, integrity and patriotism.
He called on judicial officers to work in harmony with all stakeholders towards achieving the desired goal of entrenching a crime-free and peaceful society.
Challenges facing the Judiciary
Governor Yahaya said his administration is aware of the challenges facing the judiciary and is working hard to address them.
He pledged that in the 2020/2021 Legal Year, the government would continue to offer the necessary support to create the enabling environment for the effective administration of justice in Gombe State, while committing to improve workers’ welfare in the judiciary.
“As we mark the commencement of the new legal year, I would like to call on our judges to dispense justice without fear or favour and ensure the speedy determination of cases. As My Lords would say, “Justice delayed is justice denied,” Governor Yahaya said.
Amendment in Area Court Law
On his part, the Chairman of the Gombe State Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Haruna Yalma, praised the amendment made in the Area Court Law, which has helped to sanitize the system by restoring public interest which was lost in the past.
He, however, called for the compilation and passage of Gombe State Laws, having been reviewed, the Review of Practice Direction, Legal Notice and other laws, because Gombe State still used laws from Bauchi State, even when those of Bauchi had been repealed because they had become obsolete.
“The effect of this review will impact the rating of Gombe State in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business assessment and eventually attract local and foreign investment to the state”, Mr. Yalma said.
He called for the immediate passage and domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice Acts, which was before the State Assembly, saying “the passage will tremendously improve the Administration of Criminal Justice, reduce crime, create sanity and make justice accessible to the common man”.