Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has tasked the new Acting Chief Judge,Justice Muhammadu Lawal Bello,to recruit judicial officers as the government has already granted approval to hire 40 magistrates.
In a statement issued by el-Rufai’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said the governor stated this during the swearing in ceremony of as Acting Chief Judge at the weekend.
The statement explained that, the recruitment of the judicial officers should follow due process, adding that they will reduce the work-load of judges in the state.
According to statement, government has so far “recruited 70 new lawyers into the Ministry of Justice. The government has granted approval to hire 40 new magistrates. We urge the acting Chief Judge to expedite this recruitment, in compliance with due process and in concert with the Judicial Service Commission. ”
The governor further said that his administration has: “received recognition for timely resolution of commercial disputes and enforcement of contracts in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking. ”
El-Rufai however pointed out that Kaduna state will benefit “if we can also fast track the conclusion of criminal cases.”
“the administration is aware that there are no enough judges in the judiciary and this results in the ones we have being over worked. ”
He promised to work with the judiciary towards remedying the situation.
El-Rufai revealed that his government has proposed a legislation to expand the jurisdiction of magistrates to determine matters involving monetary claims of up to N5 million, adding that “our magistrates are currently restricted to cases not above N500,000.”
He argued that the “expanded remit of the magistrates should eventually reduce the high number of cases that begin at the high court. The Landlord and Tenant Law has also vested in magistrates, matters which were previously handled by rent tribunals. ”
The governor also stated that Kaduna State House of Assembly has enacted a legislation for a new Penal Code and to domesticate the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.