Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has declared that the State was now Judiciary autonomous insisting that he has signed into Law Judicial Law on Autonomy .
Umahi made the assertion on Tuesday while declaring open the 2021/2022 Legal Year held at the premises of High Court Abakaliki the State capital.
The 2021/2022 legal Year has as its Theme “the Judiciary and the Journey to Independence”
“We have signed into Law Judicial Law on Autonomy, meaning that Ebonyi State is now Judiciary Autonomous ”
The State Chief Executive maintained that the Fundamental essence of the Autonomy must be defined , stating that if the autonomy were of eliminating corruption in the judiciary, the answer was in the negative.
“we must define the fundamental essence of this autonomy, if we are talking of eliminating corruption the answer is no, the autonomy is skewed against the Executive arm of Government ”
In his speech, the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State Justice Elvis Ngene, emphasized that training and retraining of Personnel was critical to the attainment of a virile and responsive judicial administration.
“I find out that a lot of actions that result to misconduct thrive on misconduct and incompetence , the only panacea for misconduct and incompetence was Education and proper training”
The Ebonyi State Chief Judge said that Judicial Financial Autonomy was an issue the judiciary cannot shy away from until the needful was done.
“We can hardly shy away from the subject until the needful is not only said to be done but see to be done , the State House of Assembly has already passed the Financial Autonomy Bill ”
Justice Ngene emphasized that the judiciary shall continue to relate positively with other arms of Government inorder to enhance the growth of democracy in the State.
Earlier in a remark, the Chairman of the Abakaliki Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association Barrister Ogbonnaya Okorie, expressed dismay over the meager salary paid to judicial officers.
“Salary of Judges is discouraging while the challenges facing them increases , I advocate a review of the salary of Judges in the country”
“21 Learned Magistrates in the State have no Official Vehicles, the State Government should take urgent steps to address the situation”
Dignitaries that graced the occasion included Hon Justice of the Court of Appeal Obande Ogbuinya, Hon Justices of Ebonyi State Judiciary, Barrister (Mrs ) A. J .Offia (SAN), Chairmen of Afikpo and Onueke Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State Kelechi Igwe, Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly Francis Nwifuru, Secretary to Ebonyi State Government Kenneth Ugballa, members of the Ebonyi State Executive Council among others.