An Address by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano during the Commissioning of the Court of Appeal Complex, Awka on February 5, 2020.
Today is a great day in the history of the Judiciary in Anambra State. Today, this great state finally stands on her own feet in the administration of justice after decades of relying on the Court of Appeal in Enugu for litigations beyond the jurisdiction of the High Courts.
The importance of this day could easily be seen in the imperatives of justice to a society that desires growth, freedom and democracy. Indeed, no progressive society can experience rapid growth without the stabilizing presence of robust institutions of which the Judiciary is one. Therefore, as our beloved state expands to accommodate the growth in our democratic culture, in the economy and in social life generally, it becomes important that we establish the organs that will help to keep the society on its toes.
This Court of Appeal complex is therefore a child of necessity. It is consistent with my administration’s efforts to give the Judiciary a pride of place in our state and to bring justice closer to Ndi Anambra. Permit me to note that in line with our resolve to reposition the judiciary in Anambra State, we have built befitting quarters for our judges and cleared the arrears of salaries and sundry entitlements owed to retired judges by previous administrations in the state. All things considered, I think it is not out of order to say that my administration has maintained cordial relations with the Judiciary. We have also worked in perfect harmony with the Legislature.
In commissioning this complex today, we hope to reduce the risk faced by our lawyers and litigants who have been condemned to travel to and from Enugu every now and then, in search of justice. The records show that 75% of the cases in the Court of Appeal in Enugu usually comes from Anambra State. Considering the state of federal roads across the country, this move becomes a development out of necessity and a symbol of goodwill to our lawyers and citizens questing for justice.
I am reliably informed that before now, there were only 16 Courts of Appeal in the country but with the recent establishment of four new ones in Awka, Asaba, Kano and Gombe, we now have 20. Of these four new courts, Awka is the second to be commissioned. I guess that makes us the 18th Court of Appeal in Nigeria. So, this is no mean achievement considering that there are 36 states in the country.
Once again, I wish to re-assure the honourable members of the Judiciary in Anambra State that my administration is committed to strengthening the ties that bind the three organs of government in the state together by paying attention to their needs and making necessary efforts to give everyone a sense of belonging.
It is on this note that I formally inaugurate this building.