Judges and Magistrates of the lower courts in Kogi State have been warned against residing outside the jurisdictions of their courts if they still want to remain in the services of the state judiciary.
The state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Nasiru Ajanah, gave the warning when he hosted the new leadership of Idah branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in his chambers in Lokoja.
Ajanah, who warned that it would no longer be business as usual, noted that the situation where judges operate from locations different from the communities where their courts were located breeds indolence and grossly affects the judges’ efficiency.
He said such situations were also capable of affecting time management in the proceedings before their courts, stating that the time expended on shuttling between the places of residents and the communities their courts were located would have been better utilised in the coordination and management of their courts in addition to the preservation of their own manpower.
The CJ’s warning was in response to the chairman of Idah branch of the association, Mr. Friday O. Ogwo, who had drawn the attention to the shortage of judges in some of the lower courts in that jurisdiction of the state.
The CJ said it was no longer acceptable to the judiciary to condone judges who place their comfort ahead of their adjudicatory services, irrespective of the transfer of judges around the state.
“Just as the transfers were being done gradually and systematically, the general overhauling of the Area Court system in the state also takes cognisance of a few judges who had petitions written against them especially those found to have engaged in activities not in consonance with their calling,” he noted.
He maintained that the reengineered level of discipline in the state judiciary would not allow any judge in the state to muddle up things or compromise the system.
Earlier, Mr. Ogwo had solicited the CJ’s intervention at reducing the number of cases pending at one of the Upper Area Court in Idah, noting that the volume of cases before the court was overwhelming the judge who was equally handling other matters in his former court before his transfer to Idah.
He lamented the challenges posed by inadequate judges at the lower courts in the state while also stating that the development was negatively affecting the dispensation of justice in that part of the state.
In addition, the congestion of cases pending in courts around the area was also brought before the CJ for his intervention.