The Benue State Chief Judge, Judge Aondover Kaka’an, has denounced the dilapidated infrastructure of courtrooms and staff quarters, stating that the development is hampering the effective administration of justice in the state.
Kaka’an noted that many of the courtrooms had become uninhabitable with leaky roofs, broken windows and deteriorating furniture, while rodents and reptiles had taken over staff quarters.
All of this, he said, was the result of a lack of funds to remodel and employ staff to work and live there.
A statement quoted Judge Kaka’an speaking at the commissioning of a newly built BAR Center and renovated High Court Complex, in Otukpo, Benue State, by ‘The Chief Godwin Obla Foundation’.
However, he noted that he was in no way referring to successive state administrations, as some of them “have made significant efforts to reposition the judiciary.”
Specifically, the presiding judge praised the Samuel Ortom administration for doing the judiciary well in terms of physical projects and manpower development.
He also praised the Godwin Obla Foundation and urged other strong people to step up and emulate the good gesture of Chief Godwin Obla, who is a Senior Nigerian Advocate and Chairman of the foundation, as the government alone cannot take over everything. .
Judge Kaka’an also tasked the Benue State Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association with accepting the challenge and expediting the ongoing construction of the BAR Center on the premises of the High Court headquarters, Makurdi.
He said, “the selflessness exhibited by Chief Obla, SAN, is a rare commodity in our country today, where people are more inclined to take from society than to give back.
“He definitely had numerous personal needs that yearned to be met, but he chose to apply his resources to this project for the good of society. He deserves thunderous applause and undying appreciation from us.
“Chief Obla’s noble action challenges the rest of us to give back to the society that has nurtured us and from which we have taken so much.
“His action echoes the words of a former US president, John F. Kennedy, who told his countrymen not to ask what the country could do for them, but rather what they could do for the country.
“Our attitude of waiting for the government to do everything is contrary to progress, especially when the reality of declining public revenue looms in our face.
“I hope that the Makurdi branch of the NBA will take up this challenge and accelerate the action on the ongoing construction of a Bar Center at the High Court headquarters premises in Makurdi.
“The Judiciary of the State of Benue is the heavy yoke of an infrastructure in ruins that hinders the effective administration of justice. Many of our courtrooms have become uninhabitable with leaky roofs, broken windows, and deteriorating furniture, while rodents and reptiles have taken over our staff quarters due to a lack of funds to restore them and employ staff to work and live in them
“This is in no way an indictment of successive administrations in the state, some of which have made significant efforts to reposition the judiciary.”
Earlier, the president and CEO of the Godwin Obla Foundation, Godwin Obla, who echoed the concern of the state’s chief judge, lamented how court officials worked in a hostile environment across the state, even when “our judges are the most intellectual.” Gifted and frank judges in the country”.
He explained that the initial focus of the foundation was the construction of the BAR Centre, named after an illustrious son, Chief Morgan Ogbol, but added that thereafter the foundation found a need to rehabilitate the adjoining High Court which was in a sorry state.
Obla charged Court staff to make judicious use of the renovated court, noting that “Court staff have a moral obligation and responsibility to keep the Court in the good and livable conditions expected of a Superior Court. registered”.
He said, “Before I get into the core of my speech, let me pay tribute to the Chief Justice and his brother High Court judges and judicial officers in both the high and lower courts who work under the most challenging and deplorable judicial infrastructure. state that one can imagine, in addition to being the most devalued and least paid Judiciary in the entire country.
“I can say without fear or favoritism, after having compared the sentences issued by the High Courts of Justice of the State of Benue with other jurisdictions in the country, that our Judges are the most intellectual and frank Judges in the country.
“I can also verify, taking into account my practice of more than three decades, that they are the lowest paid Magistrates in the entire country, without the housing, monetary and other necessities benefits that they should enjoy.
“The initial focus of our foundation was the construction of the Otukpo Bar Association in honor of the leading lawyer of the ldoma land, Chief Morgan Ogbole, a product of the legendary Middle Temple Bar who was called to the Bar Association in 1960, making it the the first man from Idoma to be called to the bar, and who until now has been relegated to our forgotten history and not given the place of honor it truly deserves.”
Obla continued: “The Godwin Obla Foundation will staff and maintain the Lawyers Center in the first instance for one year and work out a long-term agreement with the Otukpo Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, who are the main beneficiaries of these projects to oversee and preside over that.
“If the government is not in a position to build or renovate existing structures, you are not asking too much of them to provide a basic advance for the upkeep of these Projects and for staff to also honestly apply the advances for their intended purpose.
“Honestly, I will be sad and disappointed if after two years I realize and see any aspect of these projects in disrepair.”
The newly built BAR Centre, named after the Late Chief Morgan Ogbole, the first lawyer in Idomaland, is equipped and consists of a meeting room, toilets for the convenience of lawyers, judges/magistrates, private meeting rooms, a kitchenette, a designated library area with workstations fully equipped with two (2) desktop computers with Internet access and set up with a Law Pavilion electronic law reporting (package), a printer, binding machine, and a copier to be supplied soon.
It also has a library with hard copies of Supreme Court Law Reports including all inception to date indices worth about N2.5 million and the foundation which the chief executive said would update the Library from time to time.