The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Bayelsa State has challenged the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson over the rising cases of empty courts in the State Judiciary over dearth of judges in the state.
The CLO, through the Bayelsa State Chairman, High Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, investigation has shown that since 2016, over three courts have become vacant due to the demise of Justice G. S. Botei of High Court 3, the promotion of Justice B. A. Ugoh of High Court 7 and the retirement of Justice Margaret Akpomienmien of High Court 2.
CLO, in a letter dated 20th of April, 2018 and addressed to the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson and copied the State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, stated that the letter is meant to draw the attention of the State Government to the need for the employment of more judges.
According to the CLO, “the request is premised on the CLO field report that there are now vacant courts in the State judiciary for urgent attention. We agree that the state is undergoing serious economic crises, there is the need to meet the National Judicial Council (NJC) guidelines in the appointment of judges in the state. ”
“The appointment of judges should be given priority attention as the judicial sector is no doubt a critical sector in any administration. We therefore urge that the state manage it’s resources and projects to also include the demand for housing and vehicles as requested in the NJC guidelines. ”
In the CLO report findings, as made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the NJC requirements for the appointment of judges include provision of new vehicle and accommodation to appointed judges.
According to CLO, the recent approval of appointment of judges handed states such as Rivers, Delta, Edo, Always Ibom and Cross Rivers without Bayelsa State, “7is a sad development”.
“Consequent upon this, the CLO is urging the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, and the Chief Judge of the State to collectively move into action and see to the need for the appointment of State judges as it is timely and urgent.”