According to an unwritten code of ethics of the legal profession, it is forbidden for any member of the Bench to publicly complain of and/ or criticize any unfair treatment that is meted out on them by the Executive or Legislative Arms of Government. Members of the Bench can only speak about their ill-treatment through members of the Bar and other conscientious persons.
There is a common saying that the Judiciary is the “last hope of the common man” but the Judiciary in Delta State is now a victim of repressiveness and hopelessness inflicted/foisted on it by PDP and/or Govr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s poor leadership in the State.
As a result, the operators of the Judicial Arm of government now find it difficult to give undiluted and unfettered hope to the common man in Delta State.
The point must also be made that inspite of the fact that the Judiciary in Delta State is so battered by the PDP led Government of Delta State, the Government in the State has overtly and covertly made the Judiciary to be seen by gullible members of the public as being responsible for their suffering in the hands of some unconscionable super-rich members of the public and their lackeys!
All Progressives Congress (APC), Delta State condemns in no mean terms the unfair treatments that members of the Judiciary, particularly the Bench continue to suffer in Delta State. A situation where due to dearth of Judges, a judge is made to cover two judicial Divisions is totally condemnable. For instance, for more than three years now, the Presiding Judge at the High Court of Justice, Oleh Judicial Division has been overseeing Ozoro Judicial Division. Also, the Judge at Ughelli High Court 1 presently covers Agbarho Division. Same goes for High Court 1 Warri, where the Presiding Judge oversees High Court, Ekpan.
Also, the Presiding Judge sitting at High Court Orerokpe, covers High Court Isiokolo. In other Divisions in Delta North, the story is the same!
There is hardly any judicial Division whose volume of work is not crippling. The Honourable Judges in Delta State are made to bear these extra burden due to slavish and pharaonic mentality of Govr. Okowa’s led Government. In States like Lagos, Rivers, and F.C.T., hardly any year that at least five Judges are not appointed from each of those mentioned bStates. But in Delta State, the Governor care less about the Judiciary and related environment that promotes quick dispensation of justice!
While Govr. Okowa, his Commissioners and their partners in “it is our turn” enjoys well furnished offices and numerous aides, the Judges, particularly members of the lower Bench do not have what could be termed an office. Those that even have offices do no have air-conditioning system, electricity or good furniture in their offices.
Court Halls, tables and chairs in almost all the Courts are like properties used in modern shrines (Ogwa) in our local Communities. Court workers, Lawyers and litigants struggle for chairs to sit on in almost all the Courts in the State.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Okowa’s led Government sees the Judiciary as a conquered Arm of Government. Or how can it be sanely explained that almost all the Judges, particularly those in the lower Bench type their works personally due to lack of personal secretaries, typists and/ or well trained Aides/Assistants who can handle the typing of Court proceedings and other connected responsibilities! Even ordinary computers to carry out their basic work is almost non existent. In most cases, sensitive materials are taken to business Centres in and around Court premises for typing. This should not be the case.
At the lower Bench, it is the lucky Magisterial Districts that have “Lord Lugard” type of typewriters but unfortunately, most of the typewriters cannot be operated because of the lack of trained staff to handle them. What a government!
In this modern age, some of the Courts operate from rented eyesoric apartments and Townhalls. A visit to Ughelli South Area Customary Court, Edjophe, Uvwie Area Customary Court 3, Ebrumede, High Court, Ekpan and others will convince any doubting Thomas.
The Judiciary in Delta State, particularly members of the Bench deserve better. The fact that they need good environment to carry out their onerous and solemn responsibilities as placed on them by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and other enabling laws cannot be over emphasized.
It is the firm view of Delta APC and Deltans that for better and unbiased judgements to emanate from our Courts, they need total financial Independence, good and conducive environment and the absence of over-bearing influence from the Executive Arm of government. These, Deltans crave for in order to avoid calamitous situations where people will be constrained to resort to self help rather than taking their grievances to Court. God forbid that this should be the case.
Sylvester Imonina, Esq.,
Publicity Secretary, APC Delta State.
10th of November, 2020