Fayemi assures incoming NBA administration of Governors’ commitment to Judicial Autonomy
…Promises compliance to Order Number 10
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has given the commitment of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to the incoming leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, towards guaranteeing judicial autonomy in the country, as contained in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order number 10.
Fayemi who made this promise to a delegation of the new NBA leadership, led by the president-elect, Olumide Akpata in his office, stated that Ekiti State and the NGF would partner with the new leadership of the Bar on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and various other objectives critical to national development.
He said, “Let me assure you of not just the cooperation of Ekiti government but also the cooperation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. I know that in this position there are many issues you’ll need to deal with, one of the issues we’ve been grappling with which should be of interest to you is the Executive Order 10 which relates to judicial autonomy as you know, and let me state for the record that governors all over Nigeria are for judicial autonomy.
“The bone of contention has been the modality of implementation, especially giving a level of endowment from state to state, and I have had cause to meet with the Chief Justice of Nigeria over this on behalf of governors and I’m also meeting the President of the Court of Appeal on it and there is a committee comprising of governors as well as Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation working out the modalities in a way that would be mutually acceptable to both government and the judiciary.
“I want to say that for us, we consider that as a very critical component of our democratic process and we should do everything within our own power as governors to ensure that this happens. And as you may also be aware, some of our states are already implementing judicial autonomy to a large extent.
According to him, the governors’ forum was already working out the modalities in a way that would be most acceptable to all, as some states were in the process of implementing judicial autonomy to a large extent with a view to ensuring the realization of matters of justice sector reforms.
He thus, congratulated the incoming president for his success at the just concluded bar elections, expressing his anticipation towards the dynamism of a youthful leadership with fresh ideas that the Akpata presidency was bound to bring on board in the development of the bar nationally, adding that he was hopeful that his tenure would witness transformation in many areas.
He further congratulated the newly elected executive members of the NBA in the state and assured them of the state government’s continued support and collaboration through constructive engagement with its leadership.
On matters of justice sector reform, Governor Fayemi said, “This is a matter that is very dear to our hearts in Ekiti and it’s something that we believe without working with the leaders of the bar, it would be an exercise in futility.”
The Governor decried the adverse effect on gender inequality in the society and how the privileges of patriarchy would always make women susceptible to manipulation of all sorts.
“An aspect of it that is very dear to us in the state is the gender based violence, for us in Ekiti, we consider this a sore point, a huge crime against humanity and one that we believe all of our governors should also be active in.
“To this extent, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum declared a state of emergency on gender-based violence and we’ve been working with Lawyers and police on what this really means. For us, it means all states must enact or domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. It means enforcement and effective level of the provision of the VAPP act, it means empowerment to our girls and women”.
“To this end, if you do not empower girls by ensuring that they are kept in school and they are supported when they are out of school, you will always have power relations dynamics determining what happens between boys and girls. And it also means providing the survival support, we have a sexual assault referral Centre here in this state, we also have a shelter for women who encountered domestic violence and we feel it should be applicable across board”, he said.
Earlier, the President-elect, Olumide Akpata, who was accompanied by the newly elected general secretary, Joyce Oduah and other members of his ExCo, said he was in the state on a thank-you visit to the state chapter of the NBA for its support during the election sought the support of government concerning the welfare of his members in the state by building their capacity.
He noted that despite the fact that Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa, the legal structure was still trying to catch up with the development in the economy, hence need to build capacity in the legal profession.