C’River Governor Pledges to Address Judiciary Challenges at 2023/2024 Legal Year Opening Ceremony

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By Fred Abua

In a resounding commitment to rectify issues plaguing the state’s Judiciary, His Excellency Sen. Prince Bassey Otu, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, spoke at the official opening of the 2023/2024 Legal Year, held on September 18th, 2023, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Marian Hill NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.

Represented by his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, Governor Otu emphasized the significance of a new legal year as a time for the Judiciary to recommit to its core values. He urged legal professionals to embrace technology, recognizing its potential to revolutionize the justice system. However, he cautioned against challenges arising from this transformation as the boundaries between the physical and virtual realms blur.

Governor Otu stressed the importance of access to justice for all members of society, regardless of their economic or social status. He urged the Judiciary to ensure an efficient, fair, inclusive, and responsive legal system.

Furthermore, he called upon judicial officers to uphold principles of integrity, professionalism, compassion, peace, and inclusion throughout the legal year. Assuring the Judiciary of his administration’s support, Governor Otu pledged to collaborate with and provide necessary resources for judges to carry out their duties responsibly.

The Chief Judge of Cross River State, Hon. Justice Akon B. Ikpeme, began the legal year in accordance with tradition. She acknowledged the spiritual importance of commencing the legal year in God’s presence and expressed gratitude to the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Charles Etim (Esq), for the homily. Justice Ikpeme encouraged judicial officers to engage in introspection as they embarked on the new legal year and implored them to act in line with their consciences.

Dignitaries present at the event included officiating priests, the Speaker, His Lordship, the President of the Cross River State Customary Court of Appeal, Their Lordships, Honourable Judges of the Cross River State High Court, The Attorney General of Cross River State, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, The Chief Registrar, Magistrates, The Solicitor General/ Permanent Secretary of the Cross River State Ministry of Justice, The Director of Public Prosecution, Members of the Bar, and Counsel of the Cross River State Ministry of Justice, among others.

With a commitment to addressing the challenges within the Judiciary, the event marked a significant step in the ongoing efforts to improve the legal system in Cross River State.