Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Enugu State chapter of Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), has called for a review of its jurisdiction, to align with current realities.
The association made the call at an advocacy meeting with the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Kingsley Udeh, in Enugu.
Chairman of the association, Mr C.K.C. Idu, thanked the commissioner for granting them the opportunity to interact with him.
Idu said the association has some teething challenges including contradictions and lacunae in the Magistrate Court Law, as well as Criminal Code, and Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).
He advocated for the amendment of the affected laws to address the identified lacunae, which would aid the effective administration of law and justice, as well as enhancing peace and security in the State.
According to him: “Other challenges are limited jurisdiction vested on the Magistrate Courts, which overloads the State High Court with cases that could have been handled at the Magistrate Court.”
The association called for the review of their jurisdiction to align with current realities and what was obtainable in other states of the federation.
“Other challenges are harassment of court bailiffs who are carrying out lawful execution of court process or order and insufficient courtrooms for court sittings.
“The lack of courtrooms reduces productivity and output, as some magistrates sit for just three hours in a day to make way for other magistrates to sit,” the association said.
Responding, the Attorney-General assured them of his support in the pursuit of their duties.
He advised them to come up with an action plan which would identify the problems and challenges, suggest solutions, the timelines for implementing the solutions, and those responsible for the implementation.
Udeh assured the association that the Gov. Peter Mbah-led administration, through the Ministry of Justice, had concluded the review of bills to amend the Magistrate Court Law, Criminal Code and the ACJL, which would soon be presented to the House of Assembly for passage.
He further disclosed that the present administration was working towards modernising and equipping the courts for speedy justice delivery in the state.