Ministry of Justice
Governor Obiano’s vision for Anambra State no doubt needs the safe hands of the Judiciary to come to reality. That explains why emphasis within the last 2 years of his assumption of office has been on the building of a structural and policy framework that would make for a better Judiciary and a stronger Anambra State. To this end, a comprehensive reform of the Judiciary to make it more responsible to the needs of Anambra People is in progress.
“IT IS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT SINCE OUR COUNTRY’S RECENT RETURN TO DEMOCRACY NOWHERE HAS THE JUDICIARY PLAYED ITS ROLE AS THE LAST HOPE OF THE COMMON MAN AS IT HAS DONE IN ANAMBRA STATE. OUR RECENT POLITICAL HISTORY BEARS THE INDELIBLE MARKS OF THE JUDICIARY.”
– WILLIE OBIANO.
02. Judicial Administration
The Ministry of Justice being essentially a service Ministry has continued to offer its quota to the vision and mission of the Willie Obiano Administration. With its specialized departments, it has contributed immensely to the four pillars of the Obiano Administration through drafting of Bills, Memorandum of Understanding and Agreements.
The Ministry has also dealt with all legal advice and representations in various courts in both Civil and Criminal matters. So also are appellate matters in the Courts of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. In the last two years & the present Administration, various Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) have been drafted. Also, several agreements and Bills have been prepared, all geared towards realization of the vision of the Obiano
administration in mechanized Agriculture, industrialization, Oil and Gas, Trade and commerce.
Since coming on board of the present administration, more charges and information have been filed to check-mate crime which has been on the downward trend in the State. The enactment of the Criminal (Amendment) Law 2013 is of paramount effect, in that all properties connected with kidnapping, like houses used in keeping or hiding kidnapped victims were demolished.
The implementation of this Law by the Security Agencies in the State has unarguably reduced to the barest minimum the incidents of kidnapping in the State. The salutary effect is that there was no incidence of kidnapping during the 2014/15 Christmas and New Year festivities in the State.
Within the period under review, outdated laws of Anambra State were approved to be revised and brought up to date. The laws were last revised in 1991. The revision exercise is currently in top gear.
In the area of continued Legal Education and Training of Staff, Law officers were sponsored to attend Annual Bar Conferences wherever they were to be held. This singular deed by His Excellency has never been seen in the history of Ministry in that, sponsorships to attend Bar Conferences had always been done in batches and were rotational among Law Officers. In order to ensure continuous legal training and acquisition of requisite
legal expertise, approval was given for the training of three Law officers in specialized Legal knowledge at the Nigeria institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos. Equipping and Development of the Ministry’s libraries (at Awka and out stations) central to the acquisition of legal knowledge have been stepped up.
03. ANAMBRA HIGH COURT HOLDS VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR FORMER SPEAKER
By Michael Ezenwata
A special valedictory court session was held at the Awka High court in honour of a former speaker of the Anambra state house of Assembly Dr. Kanayo Enemuo.
Judges, magistrates, and lawyers were present during the court session to give honour to the late Enemuo who was a very active member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
In a valedictory address, the chairman Awka branch of the Nigerian bar association, Barrister Emma Odum described Dr. Enemuo as an erudite scholar who never gave up in what he believed in, excelled in the field of law, politics and academics.
Barrister Odum recalled that the late Enemuo who was called to the bar in 1985, was a former speaker of the state house of Assembly and held several positions as a two- time commissioner under then governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration.
On his part, a former state legislator and the president general of the Nimo development union, chief Frank Anthony Igboka described Dr. Enemu as a blessed man who contributed to the development of the state and excelled as a politician and as a former speaker of the house of Assembly.
Contributing, a one time secretary of the Awka branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, Barrister Gab Moneke said Dr. Enemuo was an active legal practitioner and politician who contributed to the development of the bar.
In her tribute, an active member of the Awka bar, lady Barrister Grace Ikegwuonu described late Enemuo as a force to be reckoned with, and a role model who contributed to the development of Anambra state and Nigeria.
In their tributes, a former legislator and a member of the Awka branch of the Nigeria Bar Association Barrister Boniface Orakwe and Chief Henry Igboeli who is the state chairman of the Miners Association of Nigeria paid glowing tributes to the late Dr. Enemuo who contributed his quota to the development of the bar and the mining sector in Nigeria.
In a related development, the remains of Dr. Enemuo was taken to the state House of Assembly for another valedictory session where house members took their turns in Eulogizing the giant strides of the legal colossus.
In a tribute, the member representing Njikoka one constituency in state house of Assembly and the chairman house committee on Religion, Ethics, and Pilgrimage, Dr. Tim Ifedioranma consoled the Enemuo family of Nibo community and urged them to bear the loss with fortitude.
04. CONDUCT ELECTION OR FACE COURT ACTION: HON. OKAFOR CAUTIONS
Following the delay by the INEC to conduct election to fill vacant senatorial seat of Anambra Central the Advanced Congress of Democrats[ACD] candidate for Anambra Central Senatorial District, Hon Oby Kate Okafor, has given the Independent National Electoral Commission[INEC] two months ultimatum to conduct the election or risk legal action against it.
Hon Okafor who gave the warning while speaking with newsmen in Awka, told journalists that INEC should without further delay conduct the senatorial poll now that almost all impending litigations seem to be over.
She revealed that she was going to sue the electoral body if after two months it failed to conduct the election, pointing out that all eyes were now on it to speedily conduct the poll.
According to her, “I want to mandate INEC, I want to give them two months to make sure that they conduct the election, if they don’t do it within two months, I am going to sue them in court. I am a candidate in this Election; I have wasted so much money and time for this election. I am pleading to everybody who is still in court to withdraw their cases for election to take place. I don’t know why court action should take over two years to be dispensed? I am contesting this election with everything I have and I know that I will win”
Hon Okafor expressed displeasure that people from the senatorial zone had lost so much in the past two years as a result of not having a senatorial representation in terms of fund, amenities and empowerment opportunities, adding that they could not afford to waste further time to be like their counterparts.
05. Judiciary charged to speed up judgement
By John Ndu
Anambra State government has charged the state’s judiciary to speed up all cases in its disposition so as to decongest the prisons in the state.
The state governor, Chief Willie Obiano gave the charge when the members of Magistrate Association of Nigeria (MAN) paid a courtesy visit to him at the governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.
Receiving the delegation, the Governor regretted that 70% of the inmates had been on awaiting trial, which the members of judiciary attributed to lack of witnesses and evident, thereby denying them fair hearing.
Chief Obiano also expressed dissatisfaction over indiscriminate granting of bail, especially to hardened criminals, who in turn would continue to constitute nuisance and jeopardize the lives of the people.
The governor urged them to discharge their duties diligently in accordance with justice, equity and good conscience and as well facilitate delivering of judgment so as to grant the inmates equal opportunity of fair hearing.
He stressed that his administration would continue providing the welfare and basic needs of magistrates in the state to ensure fair and just adjudication.
Earlier in his reaction, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Anali Chude pointed out that the visit was to mark the on going annual Magistrate Week which comprises the members of the bar and judiciary, where ideas would be judiciously shared to further enhance service delivery, for the good of the state.
Mr Chude revealed that the state government had enjoyed partnership with the magistrates, especially on revenue generation, which had contributed in strengthening the economy of the state.
The Leader of the team and the National President of Magistrate Association of Nigeria, His Worship, Safiyaan Umar observed that magistrates play important roles in dispensation of justice in the country.
Magistrate Umar, represented by the Vice Chairman South East, Magistrate Frank Chukwu, while commending Governor Obiano for his support to the state magistrate, pleaded for more facilities and logistics that would enhance speedy delivery.