Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik, has disclosed that some courts in Niger State are operating in rented accommodation while others are in dilapidated condition.
She revealed that already, the Izom Magistrate Court had partially collapsed, attributing the trends to insufficient allocation of funds to execute capital projects in the state judiciary.
Speaking at the Special Court Session to mark the 2023/2024 Legal Year, which took place at the High Court Complex in Minna, Justice Halima explained that the monthly allocations released to the state judiciary were grossly inadequate to take care of their needs.
According to her, it was from the allocations that "we pay for the judges' rents, national and international conferences, and carry out capital projects" adding that "the High Court complex is in dire need of upgrading by way of reconstruction, rehabilitation, and re-building.".
She stated that the Ninth State Assembly had passed into law the Harmonisation of Conditions of Service for Magistrates, Sharia Court Judges, State Counsels, Draughtsmen, and Other Connected Purposes, requesting Governor Umaru Bago to give directives for the full implementation of the law.
Justice Halima described as worrisome the manner in which magistrates commuted in public transport to and from their offices, according to the Chief Judge, which was undignifying and constituted imminent danger to their well-being.
"This brings me to the unfortunate situation confronting three retired Chief Judges of the State, namely: Justice Ahmed Bima, Justice Mohammed Aliyu Mayaki, and Justice Aisha Lami Bwari.
"Throughout their tenures as Chief Judges of the State, neither Justice Bima nor Justice Mayaki were given an official vehicle, and none of the three retired Chief Judges were given a retirement home as required by law", she lamented.
Speaking at the occasion, Niger State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Nasiru Muazu, observed that the Nigerian criminal justice system in general, like many others, faced a shortage of resources.
He noted that inadequate funding, overcrowded correctional centres, and a shortage of legal professionals, particularly from the public bar, were responsible for the ineffective implementation of the administration of criminal justice.
Staff of the 25 local government areas of Niger State have been called to remain focused and dedicated to their work.
The newly deployed Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Muhammad Kudu, gave the advice during a chat with a Newsline labour correspondent in his office at NULGE Secretariat Minna shortly after his assumption of office in the state.
Comrade Kudu, an indigene of Niger State who hails from the Bida Local Government Area of the state, said that his transfer from Katisna State to Niger after working for 11 years there as a unionist was a homecoming. And that he promised to do his best and serve the state with all sense of purpose in order to move the activities of the local government forward.
The secretary also called for teamwork among local government workers towards the development of all councils in the state, saying that it was only the spirit of teamwork that would enhance productivity, hence the need to cooperate with one another and work together to ensure the growth of local governments in the state.
Comrade Kudu, who is taking over the affairs of NULGE in Niger State, and Comrade Mohammed Kolo, who was transferred to Katisna State, where he was coming from, also worked as NULGE in Kaduna State for 10 years and expressed joy for his posting back to his home state, where he will continue to work as long as his life permits.
The secretary, who assured the media of a good working relationship to ensure effective coverage of union activities, promised an open-door policy, and called for their support and cooperation to enable him to succeed.