By Aderogba George
Abuja – FCT Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, has urged judges and magistrates in the territory to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.
He gave the charge during an assessment visit to the Medium Security Prison, Keffi Unit, Nasarawa State on Wednesday.
He said judges and magistrates must be diligent to preserve the integrity of the justice system,
adding that it must be done to repose public confidence in the system.
He added that he was aware of 27 inmates who had been in prison custody without proper signing of their detention warrant, noting that there should be proper warrant for detention before anybody was
Bello said he had been ordered by the Controller General (CG) of the Nigeria Prison, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed to investigate the matter.
He directed that the 27 people involved should be taken to prison without further delay.
Bello also directed judges and magistrates to always give a return date to any remand order they earlier gave on defendant to aid quick dispensation of justice.
He said “I am really troubled by the large number of inmate awaiting trial; this is part of failure on those who endorse remand order, you must have a return date for every remand order you signed.
“All this rest on the lack of sensitivity on the part of judges and magistrates; the idea of getting remand order on the pretext of investigation is not in line with best practice, it erodes the integrity of the justice system.
“There must be diligence in prosecution.”
The chief judge also directed the police and the prison authority to begin to look into files of cases for quick prosecution.
He added that the present administration was willing to put in place an effective justice management system and commended the Controller General and Attorney General of the Federation for playing their roles.
“I have just sent out a circular establishing Nyanya/Karu judicial division to alleviate quick dispensation of justice; we will also have less logistics problem.
“We are sending two Judges there immediately as soon as possible, we will also increase our magistrates, the idea of bringing inmates to court on Monday and Wednesday will be easy now that court will be near the prison.”
Meanwhile, some Non-Governmental Organisations pledged to pay various fines of 10 inmates, who were unable to do that, to regain their freedom,
Among the NGOs who made the pledge were Partners with Africa, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and Legal Aids Council.
The Controller General of Prison, Nasarawa State Command, Mr Ekanem Ekanem, was part of those who visited the inmates. (NAN)