Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The people of Umunze, a community in Orumba South Local government Area of Anambra State, were in an ecstatic mood recently following the inauguration of a judicial division in the area.
The people were upbeat when the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi, and his entourage from Awka visited the community for the historic event.
Before now, the people traversed other local government headquarters of Ajalli in Orumba North or Ekwulobia in Aguata council to partake in the temple of justice. Those from the area who had legal matters to pursue in court had to pay additional transport fees to lawyers representing them in matters in those far places.
The opening of the Orumba South Judicial Division in Umunze, therefore, became a big relief to the indigenes and other neighbouring communities.
While launching the judicial complex, Umeadi said that the new judicial division in Orumba South was a step towards ensuring that justice was brought to the grassroots and nearer to the people of the zone.
He added that Umunze was an area with copious landmass that made it necessary and compelling to bring justice closer to the people.
The Chief Judge said the judicial system was evolving, adding that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) had been adopted in the state to enhance the cause of justice in the high and magistrate’s courts.
His words: “There is a new development in the judicial system that is ADR. We have modified the pattern we use to judge in the high court and magistrate’s courts. What it means is that it is not everything that we debate in courts. Now, we take the parties involved to an inner room and question them on their differences.”
He added that the reason behind the adoption of the system was for courts to support it so that the society would know that it came from the appropriate body. He insisted that the integrity of the negotiator must never be in doubt to the parties at any time, noting that each time that happened, it would breakdown.
Umeadi praised the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, for respecting the judiciary and the rule of law in the state. He said since Obiano came on board in the state, the governor had never interfered in the administration of the judicial body. He charged other governors to emulate Obiano.
Earlier, while delivering his address, Chief John Akanyeonu, president-general of Umunze Progressive Union, was full of praise for the Chief Judge over his foresight and astuteness in establishing the Orumba South Judicial Division and the High Court of Umunze. He also commended Obiano for the prompt release of funds under the community-choose-your-project initiative, which he said provided a great leap for them in the erection of the temporary high court building.
Akanyeonu reminded the people that the high court building was formerly a civic centre, hence its temporary status.
He beckoned on the Chief Judge and authorities of the judiciary of Anambra to assist in the completion of the permanent high court complex.
Corroborating the importance of the new court, Onyinye Iheazor, an engineer, said it has brought justice closer to the people. He added that the presence of the court would help curb crimes in Orumba South and also checkmate various unwholesome activities of some exuberant youths.
Iheazor urged government to build industries in Orumba South to engage the youth in meaningful jobs and remove them from crime and criminality.
Among the personalities that graced the occasion were the deputy registrar of Anambra State judiciary, magistrates, presidents of the customary court, and members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
Others were former deputy governor of Anambra state, Chief Emeka Sibeudu, traditional ruler of Umunze, Igwe P.N. Eze (Abilikete II), Hon. Princess Nikky Ugochukwu and Prince Ben Oranusi, among other prominent dignitaries.
The Chief Judge of Anambra State later embarked on a full inspection of the complex and facilities.