Obaseki, Edo CJ partner to reduce number of awaiting trial inmates

L-R: Judge, Edo State High Court, Anthony Erhabor; Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Daniel Okungbowa; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie., and Judge, Edo State High Court, Efe Ikponmwonba, during a courtesy visit, at the Government House, in Benin City, on Wednesday.

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, has said his administration will collaborate with the Chief Judge of Edo State and the judiciary to reduce the high numbers of awaiting trial inmates across correctional facilities in Edo State.

The governor said this when he received the leadership of Edo State Judiciary led by the Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City, Edo State.

Obaseki said:  “We are concerned about the large number of awaiting trial inmates in our prisons and would like our Chief Judge to do something different and give assurance of comfort to these people and reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates.

‘We are ready to put in resources to support you in achieving this.

“We are ready to work with you in taking advantage of the new constitutional arrangement to build our own prisons in Edo State to support the work you are doing.

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“We have acquired land and are working on the design as the Attorney General of the state will be meeting with you to show you the plan we have in place.”

He commended the Judiciary for its role in maintaining law and order in Edo State.

He noted, “The executive arm of government in Edo State will ever be grateful to the judiciary.

“The judiciary has been one key basis for the success we have recorded as they have helped us sustain the rule of law.

“When we came in 2016, this was not the case.

“It was not uncommon to find non-state actors taking laws into their own hands, becoming laws unto themselves.

‘Sometimes, it’s better for us to reflect on what the situation was less than eight years ago.

“With the help of the judiciary, we have been able to maintain law and order in Edo State.

“Nobody can challenge this administration or accuse us of taking steps that are extra-judicial in our dealings as we have abided by the law of the land, which is why we enjoy the level of peace and stability today in the state.

“We want to thank you for the adoption of technology.

“In the executive arm, we are enjoying the benefits of technology as our sessions are now virtual and all the memos and approvals I give are now through technology.

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“We will continue to support you to embrace technology.

“Advancement in technology is not restricted to Benin City alone as we have laid 2,000km of fibre optic connections across the State as it will help us deliver high connectivity to all your Courts in Edo State.

“We are delivering technology to our schools, hospitals, and also consultants in America offering telemedicine services to our people.”

On his part, the Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, who commended the governor for his continuous support to the judiciary, said the visit is to invite the governor to the 2023/2024 Legal Year.

He said: “We want to thank you, Your Excellency, for the cooperation in the past year and solicit for more cooperation in the coming years.

‘You have done so well in terms of infrastructural development as new Courts have been built and also support in improving the judiciary technology-wise,” he added.

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