By George Edomwonyi
Auchi – The Chief Judge (CJ) of Edo, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen, has warned Magistrates and Presidents of Courts against acts capable of delaying cases and judgments in the state.
Ikponmwen issued the warning at the Bar and the Bench interactive court session held in Auchi on Tuesday.
She said the practice of judges sitting once or twice a week would no longer be tolerated, adding that anyone caught in such an act would be sanctioned appropriately.
“The same goes for staff who are irregular at work or not punctual.
“Court bailiffs who put fake proof of service in the file and those that levy wrong execution are hereby warned to stop these corrupt practices.
“The same goes to those who compile and send records of appeal with the plea page to the court of appeal; both the typist and the A.C.R that sign the record as complete will have themselves to blame.
“Court staff who collect money from litigants for bail must stop or they will be dismissed if the whistle blows on them,” she said.
The CJ disclosed that new rules for High Court, Customary Court and Magistrate Court were out and advised the bar and bench to have copies and ensure compliance with the rules.
“The new rules must be adhered to by all to ensure that the purpose of their review, which is basically to ensure quick dispensation of justice, is met.
“Where there are areas for review, the attention of the CJ must be drawn to it, so that improvement can be made.
“All judges, magistrates and presidents of courts are expected by the rules to deliver their judgments on time and avoid unnecessary delay in hearing of cases,” she said.
She commended the cordial relationship existing between the bar and the bench in Edo-North, saying that the synergy made it possible for a better and vibrant judicial system.
Earlier, Mr Simon Mokidi, Chairman, Auchi Branch, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said the interactive session was to find solutions to some fundamental challenges confronting the administration of justice.
“The interactive session between the Bar and Bench will assist in building a virile judiciary in Edo, such that is capable of mainstreaming justice in the new technological age” he said.
Mokidi expressed dismay over the deplorable state of some courts in Auchi, appealing to the CJ for intervention.
“One major area of concern to legal practitioners in this jurisdiction is the poor state of our courts, particularly the Magistrate Court 1.
“It is sad to note that the worst hit courts are within Auchi and nothing has changed for the better; indeed the situation has worsened,” he said.
He, however, called for more appointments of Presidents of Area Courts to lighten the workload on some of the courts.