By G9ija

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo says the state government is partnering with British Council on the implementation of judiciary reforms.

The governor made this known while declaring open the Network of Justice Reform Team (JRTs) conference on Tuesday in Benin.

Obaseki said the administration aimed to drive reforms that were geared toward upholding the rights of citizens and improving the cause of justice in the state.

He added that “the first thematic pillar of my administration is institutional reforms, which include reform of the judicial sector.”

Represented by the state’s Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Employment and Cooperatives, Mr Emmanuel Usoh, Obaseki said his administration had since inaugurated the Administration of Criminal Justice Law Monitoring Committee.

He explained that the committee was to ensure that the Criminal Justice Law was properly administered.

He added that “we want to ensure that there are fully functional multi-door house and family courts in the state for quick dispensation of sensitive issues relating to families.”

The governor said that his administration was also collaborating with other agencies and foreign governments to put in place laudable initiatives to curb the abuse of young men and women who were trafficked to countries in Europe.

He listed other judicial reforms being implemented in the state to include efforts to decongest the prison, renovation of the high court complex and construction of a new court to increase the number of courts in the state.

Mr Dayo Apata, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, said that the conference was significant in reforming the judicial system for effective and efficient justice delivery.

Akpata said that one of the reforms being advocated by the Network of Justice Team was the implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

He said, “the Act has continued to engage the attention of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Coordinating Committee due to its far-reaching reform of the administration of criminal justice.”

Dr Bob Arnot, the Programme Director, British Council/European Union Rule of Law on Anti-Corruption Programme (ROLAC) commended the network of justice reform teams for the progress being made in getting 27 states in the country to implement the reform teams in their domains.

He said, “15 years ago, there were only 2 Justice Sector reform teams in the country; it is very gratifying to see 27 Justice Sector reform teams after 15 years.”

He added that a major challenge the conference needed to tackle was getting internal financing for the teams to allow for sustainability.

He noted that “the conference needs to address the funding of the reform teams because it cannot continue to depend on external support.

“ROLCP will be ending in 2021: the teams need to source for support.”

Arnot urged states attending the conference but yet to implement the Justice Sector Reform Team Model to do so for improved justice delivery in their states.