By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – As past of efforts aimed at ensuring speedy dispensation of justice in Bayelsa State, the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, has said courts in the state would be provided with recording machines.
Justice Abiri who disclosed this at a town hall meeting in Yenagoa, jointly organised by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, and the Bayelsa State Judiciary, warned that it would no longer be business as usual in the sector.
According to her, the move would increase timeliness and quality of justice delivery, strengthen transparency, accountability and integrity of the courts and improve coordination and cooperation among the courts, the Attorney General’s office the police, prisons and the bar.
“The action plan not only assigns clear responsibilities, it also establishes timeliness and provides for cost estimates, clear benchmarks and a baseline against which progress is to be monitored,” she added.
While acknowledging the support received from The Nethaland and the Bayelsa State governments, the Chief Judge noted that the meeting was convened to “debunk the wrong perception or notion that the judiciary as an institution, lacks openness and was insensitivity to public opinion.”
She said that the town hall meeting was organised to allow for interaction between the different groups and stakeholders in the society.
The UNODC’s National Project officer Mrs. Ugonna Ezekwem, described the meeting as providing court users the confidence to hold the judiciary and other justice sector institutions accountable for the commitments made in the action plan.
She declared that the town hall meeting was the first of at least three sessions scheduled to take place in the state under the project.
Mrs. Ezekwem revealed that the state judiciary and UNODC will shortly commence a survey on the integrity and capacity of the state justice sector.
Over three hundred participants had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the judiciary, the police, the prisons service, the Ministry of Justice, the Bar Association and other stakeholders and also used the occasion to express their views on the current state of affairs.