By Ibrahim Oyewale
As part of efforts to ensure equitable dispensation of justice across the Stat, particularly at grassroot level, the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Henry Adebola Olusiyi, has disclosed that access to justice is a right and a necessity every citizen should enjoy, at no cost.
Justice Olusiyi disclosed this while speaking at the official commissioning of a Chief Magistrates Court in Apata Ipatun in Lokoja local government, and Itobe in Lokoja and Ofu local government areas respectively, on Thursday, stressing that the inauguration of the two courts was an expression of war against criminals in the communities.
He explained that access to justice is like a flowing river with many distributaries, noting that criminal elements would disappear from the environment, as justice has come to Apata and Ofu communities with the commissioning of the Chief Magistrates Courts.
He averred that accessibility to justice is not a luxury but a necessity in every society, in order for the rule of law to take its position to checkmate the activities of hoodlums in any given environment; adding that justice is the only instrument by which a fundamental human right of citizens can be enforced.
“What we have come here to do this afternoon, is a demonstration of access to justice. Citizens do not need to pay to access justice, and in Kogi State by God’s grace, it is our desire and our aspiration and our commitment, to ensure that people do not suffer to have access to Justice.
“It is sad and unnecessary to see people staying too long in the court before they know their fate, we want to put an end to this scenario, which is why we are committed to ensuring that communities in Kogi State have courts.
While assuring that the establishment of Chief Magistrates Court in Apata Ipatun and Itobe will enhance peace and security in the towns, the Chief Judge charged the locals to think twice before they commit any crime, stressing that whoever abuses anybody’s fundamental human right, such person would certainly face the full wrath of the law.
“With the establishment of this Chief Magistrates Court in these communites, people will think twice before they commit crimes, and anyone’s right that is abused, such persons have access to this court for justice. Anyone who feels cheated by his neighbour, knows now that he has access to justice without cost, without traveling or spending money, in order to have access to justice.
“Therefore we thank God for this privilege, and we also thank the traditional rulers in this community for their support and cooperation that led to the establishment of this Chief Magistrates Court in Itobe community”, the Chief Judge said.
The traditional ruler, the Olu of Apata, Oba Frederick Durojaye Balogun, lauded Chief Judge and entire Judiciary for bringing justice to his domain. Oba Durojaye also commended Governor Yahaya Bello for his giant stride in his community, which was neglected for years.He said the community has not rested on its oars over issues of development, stressing that part of such efforts gave birth to establishment of a Police Station, Health Centre, UBE structure and structure for Civil Defence Corps in the community.
Also speaking at the event, the Eje Ofu, Alhaji Akwu Obaje commended the Chief Judge for establishing the Court at Itobe community, with the assurance that the people of the community would protect and preserve the facilities, to
enable the Court function maximally.