The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that his administration is resolute about upholding the rights of citizens through reforms in the judiciary, which he noted, have enjoyed the support of local and international partners.
According to Obaseki, the multi-door court house, family court, ongoing construction of new court houses and reforms to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice, were embarked upon by his administration in recognition of the need to uphold people’s rights.
The governor who said this while declaring open the Network of Justice Reform Team (JRTs) Conference in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Tuesday, linked improved justice reforms in the state to the robust partnership with the local and international partners, including the British Council’s Rule of Law on Anti-corruption Programme (RoLAC).
Obaseki, who was represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Employment and Cooperatives, Emmanuel Usoh, said the objective of the Godwin Obaseki-led administration is to drive reforms to uphold the rights of citizens and improve the course of justice delivery in the state.
“The first thematic pillar of my administration is institutional reforms, which include the reform of the judicial sector of governance”.
He said his administration has succeeded in ensuring that there are fully functional multi-door houses and family court within the state to ensure that sensitive issues relating to families are quickly resolved.
“The high court complex is being renovated, and a new court building complex is under construction to increase the number of courts within the state,” he added.
The governor said his administration is collaborating with other agencies and foreign governments to put in place laudable initiative to curb the abuses of rights of young men and women, who are trafficked to many countries in Europe.
He said his administration has embarked on a programme to decongest the prison as a team from the Ministry of Justice has been put in place for that purpose, noting “We recently inaugurated the administration of criminal Justice law monitoring Committee to ensure that Criminal Justice Law is properly administered.”
The Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, said this year’s reform was held in Benin City because of the significant progress in reforming the Justice system for effective and efficient justice delivery and promotion of the rule of law.
“One of the high points of our reform is the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justices Act 2015. The Act has continued to engage the attention of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee due to its far-reaching impact for the administration of criminal Justice”.
Programme Director, British Council /European Union, RoLAC, Dr. Bob Arnot, commended the justice reform teams for the progress being made in getting 27 states in the country to set up the reform teams in their domain.
He said “15 years ago there were only two Justice sector reform teams in the country, it is very gratifying to see 27 Justice sector reform teams after 15 years.
He said a major challenge the conference needs to tackle is how to get internal financing for the teams to allow for sustainability.
“The conference needs to address the funding of the reform teams because it cannot continue to depend on external support. RoLAC will be ending in 2021, the teams need an internal source for support,” he argued.