Which arm of government does not need more funding? Now, the news from Edo State is that the judiciary there wants more budgetary allocation.
The Edo State chief judge, Esther Edigin on Wednesday called on the state government to accord high premium to the justice sector with the provision of adequate funding for the day-to-day running of the sector.
Justice Edigin, who made the call at the handover ceremony of the newly built ultra modern high court in Benin City, commended the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, for his commitment to repositioning the state’s judiciary.
She further appealed to Obaseki to urgently review upward funds allocated to the judiciary including the high court, judicial service commission and multi-door court house as monthly overhead.
The chief judge said increase in allocation to the justice sector would go a long way to promote effective administration of justice.
According to her, a strong and independent judiciary is in the best interest of everyone, and the best legacy to bequeath to generations yet unborn.
“Without adequate funding, ultra-modern court rooms and all necessary work paraphernalia, not only will justice be in accessible to justice seekers who strive to drink from its fountain, at the same time our hopes and aspirations for justice for all will effectively continue to be a mirage”, she explained.
While reiterating the significance of the judiciary as the bastion of the nation’s democracy and the last hope of the common man, she said the governor’s determination to make Edo a judicial hub has “undoubtedly driven this conception and infrastructural development of what I have come to refer to as the trinity projects for Edo State judiciary.
“The trinity project are the construction and completion of the modern high court building, judges quarters and massive renovation of the old high court,” she said.
In his remarks, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki promised to replicate the construction of ultra modern courts in Edo Central and North senatorial districts for easy accessibility of justice.
Obaseki, who expressed concern over the dilapidated court buildings in rural areas, assured that his administration would continue to support the judicial arm of government.
While handing over the keys of the court building to the chief judge, the governor promised that his administration would commit to working with the judiciary in retooling the revenue collection system to expand revenue for justice sector.
“Without the judiciary we cannot have democracy. We are hoping to come up with plans to build circuit court like zonal courts in Auchi and Ekpoma. We will work with the judiciary to reposition magistrates in Edo state.
“I can’t tell you how sad I felt during my electioneering; recall we went to 192 wards and what I saw in some communities were sad structures. You couldn’t call those buildings,” Obaseki said.
Earlier, Pius Oiwoh, Chairman, Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) charged the state government to prioritize the welfare of workers and expand workforce to boost productivity in the judiciary.