Diri Inaugurates Administration Of Criminal Justice Interim Monitoring Committee
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, on Tuesday, inaugurated the state’s Administration of Criminal Justice Interim Monitoring Committee chaired by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri.
Speaking at the state judiciary multi-door court complex venue of the ceremony, Diri tasked all critical stakeholders in the chain of the criminal justice system to play their statutory roles to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice in the state.
The governor, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, emphasised that there was a compelling and urgent need to do what he called ‘critical self-examination’ to get it right with the administration of the criminal justice system.
He said that equity held the key to a peaceful and virtually crime-free society where no one is denied their rightful benefits and entitlements as law-abiding citizens.
According to him, the lack of equity in the Nigerian society had over the years provided the breeding ground for the emergence of criminals and criminality in every part of the country.
Diri said, “Let us talk more about equity because I believe most of the crimes being committed in our society is as a result of lack of equity. A man who is into oil bunkering feels that his country is producing the crude oil from his backyard and he is not getting a fair reward from it.
“And so, he feels that the only way for him to get the national cake is to go for illegal refining. We arrest and criminalize them. But the question is: if there is equity, will he still go and break the pipelines?
“I’m not trying to be a lawyer or solicitor on their behalf. But I also think there is the need for equity. More often than not what we have done in our society is to put justice first instead of equity.
“Equity is the bedrock of every system. Justice is a remedy for injury. But when we talk about equity, it means you are giving to me what what is rightly due me.”
He noted that the country had not fully attained its goals in the dispensation of justice because the justice system had been compromised, adding that the Police, the Correctional Centres and the Judiciary should effectively play their constitutional roles to achieve seamless delivery of justice.
The governor, who also made a case for mobile courts in the rural areas to handle criminal cases, suggested that magistrates should make unscheduled visits to police stations in the various local government areas to examine files of detainees, some of whom are being illegally detained.
In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, explained that the need for the implementation of the the Administration of Criminal Justice Law justified the inauguration of the committee in the state.
She assured that the state’s judiciary as critical institution in the administration of criminal justice sector would continue to play its role to complement the work of the State Implementation Committee.
Abiri noted that when the committee was operational, it would speed up criminal trials in the courts by cutting out most of the delays currently being experienced.
A Senior Magistrate, Mariam Pere and Mr Charlie Ebinyon will serve as secretary and assistant secretary of the committee while the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyai Dambo (SAN), the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Okolo and the state Comptroller of the Nigerian Correctional Services, Mr Seth Edoughotu are members.
Other members include the Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Yenagoa Branch, Mr Ukunbiriowei Saiyou; the State Coordinator of the Legal Aid Council, Mr Eddy Inemo Yabo; representative of civil society, Mr Godson Jim-Dorgu and the state Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Eugene Baidom.