By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia – GOVERNOR Theodore Orji of Abia State has challenged judges to impose stiff penalties, including death sentence, on convicted kidnappers as a way of putting a stop to the menace. The governor said setting kidnappers free will only harden them.
Orji, who threw the challenge yesterday at Government House, Umuahia, when judges in the state paid him a visit to congratulate him on his victory at the polls, also expressed hope that the issue of a substantive Chief Judge for the state would soon be resolved.
He hinted that the issue was being sorted out, adding that his govern-ment had come under severe criticism over its inability to appoint a substantive Chief Judge after the retirement of the former one, six months ago.
Regretting that the government was yet to fulfill some of its promises to the judges, Orji commended the cordial relationship between the state judiciary and the executive. He praised the judges, saying they had done well.
Meanwhile, Governor Orji disclosed that contract for the rehabilitation of the customary court complex in Umuahia had been awarded, adding that work would commence soon.
He assured the judges that his government would do its best to satisfy their demands.
Earlier, in her remarks, the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, congratulated the governor on his victory at the April polls and assured him of their co-operation and loyalty.
Justice Uzokwe informed the governor that judges in the state had a number of problems which needed to be addressed urgently.