Benue State governor Samuel Ortom has reiterated his call for full autonomy for the judiciary to enable that arm of government to uphold the rule of law.
Governor Ortom spoke yesterday at the Government House, Makurdi, the state capital, during the swearing in of three new high court judges.
The new judges are Justice Felicia M. Ikyegh, Justice John M. Shishi and Justice Gabriel A. Omale following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The governor recommended that all entitlements due to the judiciary should be deducted at source from the federation account and remitted directly to the heads of courts for onward payment to judicial staff.
He said, “All matters of welfare of judicial staff – salary, pension and gratuity should henceforth be handled by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“This I believe has become necessary for the smooth and effective operations of the judiciary in a democratic setting.”
Governor Ortom also reaffirmed his administration’s policy of non-interference in the affairs of the judiciary, noting that it was the reason he assented to the Benue Judiciary Fund Management (Financial Autonomy) Law, 2021 to enable the state judiciary perform its duties in line with the rule of law.
The governor ranked the Benue State judiciary as one of the best in justice dispensation in the country saying his administration has consistently sponsored judges and lawyers to conferences within and outside the country to improve the quality of their work.
While congratulating the newly appointed high court judges, Governor Ortom acknowledged that their appointments were based on sound knowledge of the law and positive character and charged them to remain above board and shun temptation to pervert justice in the discharge of their duties.
He said at a time when the government and the public are calling for quick dispensation of justice, the judiciary must live up to its responsibility as democracy cannot thrive without adherence to the rule of law.
Responding on behalf of the judges, Justice Ikyegh expressed gratitude to God and thanked the governor for appointing them after the recommendation of the NJC.
She also appreciated the state chief judge, Justice Aondoaver Kaka’an, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as well as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for their various roles in the justice sector and promised commitment and strict adherence to their oath of office.