Otu Oka-Iwu Abuja Raises Concerns over the absence of Ebonyi State Judge in FCT High Court, Tasks Judiciary on Independence

Otu okaiwu, the umbrella body of Igbo lawyers in Abuja has raised alarm over the non inclusion of Ebonyi state in the recent judicial appointment in the Federal Capital Territory.

In a statement made available to Barristerng on Wednesday, the body condemned what it described as interference of lobbyists in the Judiciary.

Read the full statement below

Otu Oka-iwu, Abuja congratulates the Judges of the FCT High Court and Justices of the Court of Appeal sworn in today by the Chief Justice of Nigeria; Hon Justice Ariwoola

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The appointment is commendable because the increase in the number of judges and justices will help with the challenges of workload and the time lag it takes to conclude a case in the respective courts.

While we felicitate with the appointees, we note that in the FCT High Court, each state is represented at the Bench. However, our attention is drawn to the fact that while other states are represented, Ebonyi State has no representation to reflect the federal character system as required in the composition of the Judges of the FCT High Court.

Ebonyi State undoubtedly has produced fine legal minds in the country. We are therefore concerned that the state is not represented in the FCT High Court. For fairness and equity, we hereby appeal to the National Judicial Council to consider this oversight and call that the Ebonyi State quota be filled in the FCT High Court.

Going forward, fortunately or unfortunately, the appointment of the judges and justices that were sworn in today comes at a time when all eyes are on the judiciary. Recent publications have all criticised the judiciary as corrupt and the major part of the problem faced in Nigeria.

It is believed that if the Judiciary is independent and had stood its ground particularly in political cases that some of the atrocities in the country would not be, as so many persons would be imprisoned for derailing Nigeria and misappropriating our common wealth.

Indeed, all hope may not be lost because at this time in our beloved country, the clamour for the independence of the judiciary can not be over emphasised. The Executive and the Legislature can not lie siege on the third arm of the government. We strongly condemn the interference of lobbyists and their likes in judicial affairs, particularly in cases that are pending in our various courts.

The judiciary should particularly not be politicised. Rather, there should be an improvement in the welfare of judges and judicial officers. We also advocate for state of the art Court rooms because the conditions of some of our courts across the country are not befitting for the tedious work judges are subjected to. The method of recording by hand ought to have been fazed out decades ago. Judges need improved health care packages as well as sufficient wages to avoid temptations that come with gratifications.

The Nigerian Judiciary is rated as one of the best in the world, but meddlesome interlopers abound, and everything required to be done should be done to rescue the last hope of the common man.

Chidi Udekwe, Esq.
Otu Oka-iwu Abuja

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