Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti on Friday, signed into law the Ekiti State Assembly Service Commission (re-enactment) Bill 2021, Food Security Bill, the state criminal Bill 2021 and the Ekiti State victim charter law.
Fayemi, in his remark, said the four new laws were geared toward enhancing good governance in the state.
The governor explained that the Ekiti State Criminal law was a combination of the three-year review of the criminal code law.
He said that one of the main tasks he assigned to the Ministry of Justice immediately he came to office was to undertake a holistic review of the criminal laws of the state.
This, he said, is with a view to achieving a law that is current, relevant and responsive to the citizen’s concerns about crime and safety.
Fayemi expressed delight that Ekiti State could now take its rightful place as one of those states in Nigeria with modern criminal law.
According to him, the criminal justice system traditionally appears to focus exclusively on the offender while the responsibility of the victim was only to give evidence which he said was unfair and undesirable.
The governor said he believed that victims of crime must be seen as important stakeholders in the criminal justice system by being constantly engaged throughout the prosecution process.
“Including ensuring that their voices were heard in matters relating to sentencing, plea bargain and where state pardon was being considered, adding that the law recognises the rights of victims to be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity.
“I specifically directed the Ministry of Justice to propose a legal framework that responds to citizens’ concern about the spate of sexual violence against women and girls.
“I’m happy to know that Ekiti State criminal law now provides the legal framework for our ‘Name and Shame’ sex offenders policy by providing for the Registrar of sex offenders and more importantly by ensuring that victims of sexual violence are not subjected to double victimization by the criminal justice system,” he said.
Fayemi said the House of Assembly Service Commission law would ensure improvement in service delivery of the staff of the assembly such as structure of staff promotion, discipline, training and capacity building to serve the state in promoting good governance.
He said the bill was made to strengthen the structure of the commission for better service delivery in promoting the vision of the state government and catering for the needs of the citizens
On the new law on food security, the governor stressed the need to support the agricultural sector and improve food security by ensuring that government participated fully to bring about food sufficiency in the state
According to him, such that agriculture would also serve as an alternative to crude oil by making it the first focus as it was in the past.
“The law will achieve the twin purposes of improving health and income for the people as well as increasing the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
“The objective of the law is to ensure food security in Ekiti state and to create farm settlement where Agriculture produce can be planted such as Cocoa, palm trees, Cashew Coconut and any other crops suitable on Ekiti land to boost the IGR and to encourage agricultural enterprise,” he said.
The governor commended the legislators led by the Speaker, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye for their cooperation on speedy amendment and passage of the laws
He also commended the legislators for living up to their constitutional responsibilities of legislation, representation, appropriation and oversight and urged them to continue with the good work with the interest of the larger Ekiti people on their mind.
Earlier, while presenting the bills to the governor, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye explained that the bills being assented to addressed critical areas of governance in the state with the aim of translating the policy initiatives of the administration into an enduring legacies.
Afuye explained that the legislative agenda of the assembly was structured in line with the five pillars of this administration adding that the 6th Assembly had passed 68 Bills into law while 64 of them had been assented to.