Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has reiterated his call for complete autonomy for the judiciary to enable the arm of government dispassionately uphold the rule of law.
According to his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the Governor bared his mind Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi during the swearing-in of three newly-appointed High Court Judges in the State judiciary.
The newly sworn-in judges are Justice Felicia M. Ikyegh, Justice John M. Shishi and Justice Gabriel A. Omale. Their appointment followied 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 Accounts and remitted directly to the Heads of Courts for onward payment to judicial staff members.
The Governor also stated that “all matters of welfare of judicial staff – salary, pension and gratuity should henceforth be handled by the National Judicial Council.
“This I believe has become necessary for the smooth and effective operations of the judiciary in a democratic setting.”
Governor Ortom 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 had consistently sponsored judges and lawyers to conferences within and outside the country to improve the quality of their work.
While congratulating the new 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 further noted that at a time when the government and the public were calling for quick dispensation of justice, the judiciary must live up to its responsibility as democracy could not thrive without adherence to the rule of law.
Justice Ikyegh in her response on behalf of the newly sworn-in Judges expressed gratitude to God and thanked the Governor for appointing them on the endorsement of the NJC.
She also appreciated the State Chief Judge, Justice Aondoaver Kaka’an, the Judicial Service Commission as well as the Nigerian Bar Association for their various roles in the justice sector and stated avowed commitment and strict adherence to their oath of office.
The State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and Governorship candidate of the PDP, Titus Uba, Chief Judge of the State, Justice Aondoaver Kaka’an, President Customary Court, Justice Cosmas Idye, the Head of Service, Mrs Veronica Onyeke, the Chief of Staff, Dr Tivlumun Nyitse were among top government officials who witnessed the ceremony.