Gov Mbah inaugurates Judicial Service Commission, Council on Prerogative of Mercy

Gov Mbah inaugurates Judicial Service Commission, Council on Prerogative of Mercy

Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah has inaugurated the newly reconstituted Enugu State Judicial Service Commission and the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

The State Judicial Commission, which has the the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Ozoemena Afojulu as the Chairman, also has the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Kingsley Udeh and the President of the state’s Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Chibueze Nnamani.

Others are Justice Reuben Onuora (Rtd.), Prof. Andrew Chukwumerije, Hon. Gabriel Agbo, and Dr. Udechukwu Ezeh.

The seven-member Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy has the state’s Attorney General as the statutory Chairman, and Barr. Seth Nwokolo as Secretary, while Dr. Rita Emeh is a member. The Nigeria Correctional Service, Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation (CAPIO), and the Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) also have a representative each.

Inaugurating members of the Judicial Service Commission at the Government House, Enugu, on Wednesday, Governor Mbah said their responsibilities were essentially to ensure the welfare and oversee the employment of judicial officers, reminding them that the state needed a functional judicial system to attract investments.

“Recall that in my one year anniversary address, I outlined a number of reforms and steps we have taken in the judiciary.

“This is essentially because it also ties to the objective of the government to grow our economy, because one of the indicators of the ease of doing business is also the enforcement of contract. But that would not happen if you don’t have a sound judicial system.

“We are currently digitizing and also digitalizing our processes and procedures. Our effort in making sure we get our procedure in court reported verbatim is at an advanced level. What that will also do is to eliminate the burden of longhand reporting to allow our judges be more effective.

“We are also creating specialized courts in the state to fastrack access to justice. So, this is indeed, a very important commission, and we have taken our time painstakingly to select those who made it as members of this Commission,” he said.

Inaugurating the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Governor Mbah regretted that a prison designed to accommodate slightly above 650 currently have over 2000 inmates with over 80 per cent of inmates awaiting trial and charged the members with a robust decongestion of the correctional facilities.

“As you may already be aware, the major function of this body is to review the application on clemency and advise the governor with recommendations.

“It is our hope that your decisions and indeed your reviews will not be taken lightly. They would have to be done with a deep sense of duty and also be guided by the objective guidelines you have in looking at each case.

“We expect that each case would be reviewed on its merit, not driven by any subjective interest because at the end of the day, this would be for the common good of the society.

“The recommendations you make would ensure that we continue to stay in a safe society and also our prison is decongested,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, speaking during the separate inauguration ceremonies, the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission and Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Afojulu, as well as the Attorney General and Chairman of the Council of the Advisory Council on Prerogative, Dr. Udeh, pledged the commitment of their support to the governor in his push to reposition the state.

“Reconstituting this body is a testament to the fact that you have a father’s heart.

“The Importance of this function will not be lost on us because if we discharge our duties with sense of responsibility and the expertise required, then we will decongest the prison without letting out criminal elements that will trouble our security and our wellbeing, but inmates that have been reformed”, the Attorney General said.