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Obaseki swears in Justice Okungbowa as Edo Chief Judge, urges increased efforts to decongest correctional facilities

13 Jul 2023

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (right), with the Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa, during the swearing-in of the Chief Judge, at the Government House, in Benin City, on Friday, July 14, 2023.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, swore in Justice Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa as the Chief Judge of Edo State, urging the new judicial helmsman to provide leadership in proffering solution to the problem of decongested correctional facilities in the State.

Obaseki during the swearing-in ceremony held at the Government House, in Benin City, urged Justice Okungbowa to fast-track the setting up of mobile Courts, embark on visits to correctional Centers, and expedite trials, among other steps to decongest the correctional facilities and provide justice for those awaiting trials for years.

Others at the event are the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Secretary to Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha; Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq.; Deputy Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Hon. Maria Edeko and the Edo PDP Chairman, Anthony Aziegbemi, amongst others.

Commending the judiciary for collaborating with the state government, Obaseki said, "This relationship has enabled us to create the right and conducive environment for the transformation of our State into a leading sub-national government on the Continent.

“This cooperation especially with the Judiciary has guaranteed the success of our reforms and that we maintain law and order and respect the rule of law in Edo State because without the rule of law, development will never occur. These have been provided by a thriving Judiciary.”

He added, “The Judicial system in Edo State has benefited from years of serious, spirited and sincere efforts to improve the processes of justice administration, ensuring the prerequisite infrastructure and manpower are available to facilitate timely delivery of Justice to all.”

On decongesting correctional facilities in the State, the governor said, “The Constitutional amendment has paved the way to end the menace of congested correctional facilities and endless wait for trials.

“I urge the new Chief Judge to take advantage of the development and provide leadership in resolving this challenge of prison congestion which has become a national embarrassment and crisis. We would like you to provide direction for us in the development of correctional facilities in Edo State.

“I have allocated 100 hectares of land in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the State for a new State Correctional facility as the design is ready. We can't proceed to award the contract to build without seeking clarification, assistance and support from you.

“We believe that the correctional facility will set the template and example of what State Correctional facilities should look like when it's completed under your tenure. I urge you to fast track the setting up of mobile courts to visit correctional centers and conduct institute trials to decongest the correctional facilities and provide justice for those awaiting trials for years.”

He continued: “An investment to boost the capacity of our Judges to deliver judgement with the aid of technology has been firmly rooted. This will enhance a new charge in the Judiciary as it will improve the turnaround time in the administration of justice as Edo people are assured of better and more efficient service delivery.

“I enjoin you to sustain the laudable reforms which were started by your predecessor in different areas, particularly in terms of human capacity development of the Judiciary and improved work processes.

“As an Executive, we will continue to invest in your infrastructure. We are going to commence the second phase of Judges’ Quarters and recreational facilities before the end of the year in Benin City and also rebuild your facilities in the other two senatorial districts as soon as we have the resources to do so.”

He reassured: “We will continue to count on the Judiciary as we advance reforms to maintain law and order and make Edo a safe haven for investment and sane society where everyone can live life to the fullest.”

In his response, Okungbowa promised to work with the state government to ensure law and order in the State and improve justice delivery.

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