In a bid to ensure quick and efficient delivery of justice in Ebonyi State Judiciary, the state Governor, Chief David Umahi has announced the offer of free medical checkup for all judges in the state and their spouses from February 2020.
Governor Umahi who made the pronouncement in his speech during the ceremony to mark the beginning of 2019\20 legal year, extolled the Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe and all stakeholders and workers in the state temple of justice for their commitment to the cause of prompt justice delivery.
He commended the judiciary in Nigeria for the fight against corruption and insisted that it is better to checkmate expenditures of public office holders than throwing them into jail.
Chief Umahi disclosed readiness of his government to map out the construction plan of the best judiciary complex in Nigeria for the state from January 2020 as well as build residential houses and procure utility vehicles for all judges and magistrates in the state as measures to ensure their security.
In response to appeals by the Chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) branches in the state for promotion and employment of more personnel, the Governor replied that employments are done only when there are vacancies and since there is none presently, there will be no employment and no promotion.
Delivering his address, the State Chief Judge said the state judiciary disposed of 32,582 out of a total of 66,309 cases it received from various courts in the state for the 2018/2019 Legal Year.
According to Nwaigwe, the cases comprised all cases filed in the said year and others brought forward from the previous year, spreading through the High Court, Magistrate Court, Customary Court and Customary Court of Appeal.
Giving the breakdown, Nwaigwe explained that the High Court received 19,450 filed cases and 15,158 brought forward cases, out of which 15,310 was disposed with 19,298 still pending.
For the Magistrate Court, filed cases were 12,940, while bought forward were 16,098, 16,270 were disposed, leaving a balance of 12,768.
While 172 cases were filed and 344 were bought forward in the Customary Court of Appeal, 213 were disposed and 303 pending.
In the Customary court, 1,006 cases were filed and 1,141 were brought forward, out of which 789 cases were disposed, while 1,358 are pending.
The Chief Judge also noted that though revenue generation was not the mainstay of judicial services, the arm earned a total revenue of N31,146,671.59 emanating from marriage fees and others to the government in the year under review.
Nwaigwe decried the hitherto insufficient personnel to man the various case files in the Justice Ministry describing it as a challenge to quick dispensation of justice in the State.
Decrying the level of prison congestion in the Correctional Services across the country, the legal icon commended the Governor for domesticating Criminal Justice Administration in the State, expressing optimism that it would help decongest the custodial centers in the state.
While he solicited for the Governor’s assistance in the areas of more office accommodation, residential quarters, functional vehicles for judges and other legal personnel, promotion and other welfare packages for the Judicial Staff, Nwaigwe expressed his commitment to continue to enhance the performance of the courts through digitization of its services.
Nwaigwe added: “We intend to commence reporting of the judgments of our Courts in Ebonyi State. In the coming weeks, we shall be inaugurating a Law Reporting Committee and the Committee shall be adequately equipped to commence work in concrete terms.