Diri identifies causes of unrest, crimes

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, on Tuesday, inaugurated the state’s Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring at the State Judiciary Multi-Door Court Complex, in Yenagoa.

Speaking at the ceremony, Diri tasked all critical stakeholders in the chain of the criminal justice system to play their statutory roles to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice in the state.

The Governor, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, emphasized that there was a compelling and urgent need to do what he called ‘critical self-examination’ to get it right with the administration of the criminal justice system.

According to the Bayelsa Chief Executive, equity holds the key to a peaceful and virtually crime-free society, where no one is denied their rightful benefits and entitlements as law-abiding citizens.

He said the lack of equity in the Nigerian society had over the years provided the breeding ground for the emergence of criminals and criminality in every part of the country.

He said, “Let us talk more about equity because I believe most of the crimes being committed in our society is as a result of lack of equity. A man who is into oil bunkering feels that his country is producing the  crude oil from his backyard and he is not getting a fair reward from it.

“And so, he feels that the only way for him to get the national cake is to go for illegal refining. We arrest and criminalize them. But the question is, if there is equity, will still go and break the pipelines?

“I’m not trying to be a lawyer or solicitor on their behalf. But I also think there is the need for equity. More often than not what we have done in our society is to put justice first instead of equity.

‘Equity is the bedrock of every system. Justice is a remedy for injury. But when we talk about equity, it means you are giving to me what what is rightly due me.”

Senator Diri noted that the country had not fully attained its goals in the dispensation of justice because the justice system had been compromised, adding that the Police, the Correctional centres and the Judiciary should effectively play their constitutional roles to achieve seamless delivery of justice.

The Governor, who made a case for mobile courts in the rural areas to handle criminal cases, suggested that magistrates should make unscheduled visits to police stations in the various local government areas to examine files of detainees, some of whom are being illegally detained.

In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, explained that the need for the implementation of the the Administration of Criminal Justice Law justified the inauguration of the Committee in the state.

Justice Kate Abiri assured that the state’s judiciary as critical institution in the administration of criminal justice sector would continue to play its role to complement the work of the State Implementation Committee.

She noted that when the Committee was operational, it would speed up criminal trials in the courts by cutting out most of the delays currently being experienced.

The Chairman of tbe Bayelsa State Administration of Criminal Justice Interim Monitoring Committee is the Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Kate Abiri, while Senior Magistrate Mariam Pere and Mr. Charlie Ebinyon are to serve as Secretary and Assistant Secretary respectively.

While the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyai Dambo (SAN), the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Okolo and the state Comptroller of the Nigerian Correctional Services, Mr. Seth Edoughotu are members.

Other members include the Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Yenagoa Branch, Mr. Ukunbiriowei. Saiyou; the State Coordinator of the Legal Aid Council, Mr. Eddy Inemo Yabo; representative of civil society, Mr. Jim Dorgu and the state Coordii of National Human Rights Commission, Mr Eugene Baidom.

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