Bayelsa State Vice Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has argued for the need for state governments to take appropriate steps to review and expand the jurisdiction of their various magistrates to improve the administration of justice in the country.
This is how he called on the second tier of government to give magistrates relatively better recognition as bailiffs, like their senior counterparts on the higher bank.
Ewhrudjakpo stated this while giving a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria Conference in Yenagoa.
A statement from his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubara Atasi, said the deputy governor described magistrate courts as the foundation of the Nigerian criminal justice system.
He noted that the role of magistrates was too crucial and indispensable in the criminal justice system to be left as it is.
He therefore challenged state governments to look at existing laws with a view to expanding the scope and quality of judicial services provided by magistrates in light of the current realities in the country.
Ewhrudjakpo, who also strongly advocated community service as an option in the country’s criminal laws, stressed that cases should not take unnecessarily long.
He said Bayelsa was making concerted efforts to improve the quality of the welfare of magistrates and related matters in the state.
He assured the state chapter of the MAN that the state government would complete the magistrate complex in Yenagoa to improve the speedy administration of justice in the state.
Ewhrudjakpo said: “The magistrates are actually the foundation of the criminal justice system in Nigeria. Your role is not only crucial, but also very indispensable.
“I think all state judges should take steps to recognize magistrates as bailiffs. Let’s look at our laws that empower us to create the state’s judicial commissions, to enable us to do something about recognizing these people who do justice in the first instance.”
In her remarks, the chief of state judge, Judge Kate Abiri, praised the state chapter of the association for having spared no effort in curating the conference.
Kate, who was represented by Judge Matilda Ayemieye, praised the state government for doing good to bailiffs in the state, but requested the completion of the Magistrate Court Complex.
State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Biriyai Dambo (SAN) also described the magistracy as an integral part of the judiciary that holds the fabric of society together and urged participants to make the most of it. to draw the conference.
In his welcome speech, MAN’s state president, Obiri Florizel, called for a better welfare and working environment for magistrates, given the bulk of the criminal and civil cases they handle, saying that most lawsuits start in the magistrates’ courts.
He described the government led by Governor Douye Diri as justice-friendly, but called on the state government to complete the magistrate’s building near the Multi-Door Court Complex in Yenagoa to address the association’s infrastructural deficit. .
Representatives of the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria from Rivers, Delta and Imo states also delivered goodwill messages at the two-day conference themed: Improving the quality of justice in magistrate courts.