From: Ahmad Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Henry Olusiyi has averred that the hallmark of judiciary and judges are independence, fearlessness and impeccable integrity, insisting that there is no alternative to a totally independent judiciary.
Justice Olusiyi stated this in Lokoja yesterday, during a valedictory court session held in his honour, following his retirement from the services of the state judiciary.
He pointed out that in a democracy, the three arms of government must work collectively to achieve the goals set out in the constitution, adding that the doctrine of separation of powers, was to ensure harmony, and avoid the abuse of powers, and the risks of one arm wielding absolute power, to the detriment of the other arms.
According to the retiring chief judge, concerted efforts must be intensified by the three arms to ensure checks and balances, so as to sustain the independence of the three arms of government, in the overall interest of the people and the country.
He further stressed the need for the judiciary to ensure that every citizen of this country lives a life of dignity, and is not deprived of the “right to life” guaranteed to him under the constitution.
He maintained that in times of crisis, the courts must protect the poor and the underprivileged, because they are worst hit during trying times, even as he added that when the court does its duty and acts in favour of the citizens, it means the courts are functioning properly.
Justice Olusiyi enjoined judges to continue to do their job with utmost fear of God, urging them to always use the holy scriptures, constitution and laws as a guide, emphasizing the need for them to be humane, compassionate, honest and courageous.
He stressed that no society can thrive without respect for the rule of law, saying the rule of law is a fabric that holds society together, as any breach poses danger to the society, even as he warned that court orders must be respected and complied with as a matter of course.
He equally expressed concern over access to justice, which he described as a huge problem, saying drastic action must be done to solve the matter, even as he called for the establishment of more courts, while more judges should be appointed to ensure quick dispensation of justice.
The retiring chief judge also appealed to the Federal Government to establish court of appeal division in Kogi State, considering the sizable number of cases from the state being handled at the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal; for speedy dispensation of justice.
Speaking at the occasion, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja described Justice Henry Olusiyi as a man of honour, describing him as a complete jurist.