The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo CFR, has sworn in Barr. Etomike Innocent Ndigwe Esq. and Tagbo Chinwuba Anieto Esq. as Judges of the Anambra State Judiciary.
Governor Soludo performed the function at the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Awka. The swearing-in ceremony follows an effort to lessen the current workload of judges in the state.
The Governor congratulated the newest members of Anambra’s core court of judges and expressed gratitude to God for their calling to public service as outstanding professionals.
“The three branches of government; the legislative, executive and judiciary which are all fairly represented here today, will co-operate to create a livable and prosperous Anambra. Security, law, and order are our top priorities and comprise our first agenda among our five pillars. Nothing happens if it is absent! Our second agenda, which focuses on infrastructure and economic transformation, cannot be carried out if our first agenda is not successfully carried out.
“Underscoring the importance of the team, everything depends on the rule of law if we want to create jobs, raise money to make things run smoothly, get rid of touts and criminals on the street, make the legal system function, etc. Enormous duty rests squarely on your shoulders. The Chief Judge always reminded me that we are second to Lagos in terms of productivity. So, maybe, that will change positively”, Soludo emphasized.
“Within the limitations imposed by the problems we must overcome, we will make every effort to ensure that the working conditions and surroundings are as comfortable as possible. As government, the Executive branch, we will go above and beyond to heed to what you demand for swift administration of justice. We will make some commitments, but the only constraint is revenue”, he added.
As the state begins the IGR revolution, as it has in Lagos, Soludo asked for an aggressive judiciary to cope with it and work hard to collect money from the populace.
“Unfortunately, Anambra is one of the states in the nation with the lowest revenue payments. The people paid a total of N20 billion in one year. Lagos expects to generate over N1 trillion annually. Even though we are not Lagos, if we can collect even just 5% of what Lagos does, we may earn up to N50 billion annually.
“I don’t hold anyone responsible for the oil boom which caused people to forget to pay taxes used to build Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Aba. As oil production declines, we must revert to the outdated methods of tax collection”, he bemoaned.
The Governor stated, “We are determined to give ndi Anambra value, flagging off and building roads and for that reason we are cutting down all bycottables.”
The Governor pledged that, despite the difficulties, he will resolve the issue of judges’ entitlements in phases starting in March this year.
“Our shared responsibility is to work together for a better Anambra. By the grace of God, Anambra will continue to win. We will keep juggling the balls”, he said.
Prof. Sylvia Ifemeje, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, in her opening remarks presented the two nominees recommended by the Anambra Judicial Council for appointment into the Anambra Judiciary in pursuant to section 271 (2) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.
She pointed out that they are the first set of judges Governor Soludo is swearing in since assuming office as Governor. She reminded the nominees that the oath of office they are about to take obligates them to support and defend the constitution of Nigeria.
She also added that they are expected to enforce the rule of law fearlessly because their appointment is timely and would go a long way to reduce the current workload on judges.
Earlier, the Chief Registrar, Anambra State Judiciary, Chinyere Ossy Okoye Esq., presented the nominees to Governor Soludo, to invoke his constitutional rights to appoint and swear them in as High Court Judges of Anambra State.
The Chief Judge of Anambra State, Hon. Justice Onochie Anyachebelu who initiated the appointment process which has come to fruition, on his part, said it is a special event towards the path to a quick dispensation of justice.
The Speaker, Anambra House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Dr. Uche Episeni Okafor, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Head of Service, Barr. Theodore Igwegbe, Deputy Speaker Anambra House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Pascal Agbodike, Commissioner for Special Duties, Barr. Sly Ezeokenwa, Solicitor General Anambra State, Ngozi Ilunoh Esq, Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, Commissioner for Environment, Engr. Felix Odimegwu, Special Adviser on Culture and Entertainment, Chief Sir Bob Manuel Udokwu, Judges and members of Anambra State Bar Association amongst others attended the event.
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