From Gyang Bere, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has reiterated his commitment to signed the death warrants of convicted kidnappers in the state following the untold hardship the have inflicted on innocent people in the state.
He described as unacceptable the released of a kidnapper and a rapist who was caught defiling a two-year-old girl on bail and solicited that the suspect should be rearrested and arraigned.
Lalong stated this on Friday during the swearing-in ceremony of President of Plateau State Customary Court of Appeal and new Judges of the High Court and Customary Court of Appeal, held at the Government House Little Rayfield Jos.
“As Governor, I have promised to sign the Death Warrant in respect of anyone convicted of kidnapping which is giving our people sleepless nights, driving away prospective Investors and further impoverishing our people. Many of them are forced to pay ransoms to secure the release of loved ones which is making people afraid to pursue their legitimate businesses including farming.
“When I met with stakeholders recently, concerns were raised about prosecution of suspects who are arrested for kidnapping. Some of them we understand do not get to be arraigned as and when due and even get released without charge despite evidence tendered to law enforcement agents. That perhaps emboldens the continuous onslaught on the citizens by kidnappers.
“While we are addressing the issue with the police relating to arrest, investigation and prosecution, I want to appeal to our Judges to be very firm in trying such Cases when brought before them as Kidnapping is fast becoming an Industry with no one immune from the menace.”
He pledged to prioritized the welfare of Judges in the state despite his the economic hardship constituted by COVID-19.
“Our administration is totally committed to the rule of law and in ensuring that the Judiciary operates in a manner that guarantees equity, Justice and fairness to the citizens of the State irrespective of their ethnic, economic, religious, political and other orientations.
“It is a known fact that over time, our Courts have struggled with shortage of man-power and high case load which has greatly affected their ability to dispense with cases on time. In 2020 alone, three Judicial Officers retired, two at the Customary Court of Appeal and one at the High Court, thus creating vacancies apart from the already overburdened Courts.
“Such development necessitated the efforts to fill these vacancies by the National Judicial Council to enable the judiciary deal with the backlog of cases including those returned by the retired Judges of the various Courts.”
Those sworn-in include President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Sati Patrick Dapit, and the new Judges are, Hon. Justice Naankwat Dawat Shaseet; Buetnaan Mandy Dongban Bassi, (Plateau State High Court) Pauline Nanlep Njar, Edwin Sati Munlang, and Georgina Dashe (Customary Court of Appeal).