Cross River State Chief Judge, Justice Michael Edem, had warned that justice may continue to be delayed in the state’s courts if additional 2,500 judicial personnel were not employed.
Justice Edem gave the warning on Monday during a court session to mark the opening of the 2017/2018 new legal year in the state.
According to him, the state government should boost the staff strength of the judiciary for easy and quick dispensation of justice, saying that the current staff strength of 467 workers was not enough.
“As at date, we have only 467 staff to man eight judicial divisions of 17 high courts; 43 magistrate courts and 94 customary /district courts in the state,” Justice Edem disclosed.
He added; “We require at least 3, 000 staff to prevent the system from grinding to a halt. Members of staff are retiring on a daily basis without commensurate replacements and by the end of 2018; a total number of 61 members of staff will disengage from the service of the Cross River State judiciary.”
While commending the governor for assisting the judiciary so far, the chief judge appealed to him to save the judiciary from collapse by employing more judicial workers to facilitate dispensation of justice.
He used the occasion to warn judicial staff from what he called malfeasance, saying; “The judiciary would not be a collective victim of an individual malfeasance. I will let go the axe ruthlessly. The antidote is strict adherence to professional ethics as there is not going to be the slightest compromise.”
The special court session was attended by the Attorney-General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Joe Abang, who represented the governor.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Justices of the state High Court, the Judge of the National Industrial Court in the state, A Senior Advocate of Nigeria practicing in the state, Mba Ukweni, SAN, magistrate’s court heads and numerous members of both the Bar and the Bench in the state.
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