By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
The leadership of the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) Benue State branch, Civil Society Organization and other relevant stakeholders have claimed the authorship of the laws on administration of criminal justice and violence against persons prohibition.
They also dismissed the claims by the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary that the law administration of criminal Justice is an executive one sponsored by the State Ministry of Justice.
” We have all the documents that covers all the processes that led to the passage of laws” they stated.
They explained that the laws of Administration of criminal Justice and Violence Against Persons (VAPs) prohibition are aimed at eliminating and reducing to the barest minimum, cases of sexual, domestic and all forms of Gender Based Violence.
The Chairperson, International Federation of Female lawyers,( FIDA), Benue chapter, Doctor Magdalene Dura revealed this on Thursday during a press briefing at Doo palace hotel, Makurdi explained that agitations for the promulgation of the law stemmed from the experiences in Ochanya’s case.
She further explained that though FIDA initiated the bills and had been in the forefront for the passage into laws and it was made possible by the commitment of the Commissioner for Information, Mrs Ngunan Adingi while she was representing Buruku State Constituency in the 8th Benue Assembly alongside Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders.
The FIDA chairperson particularly applauded the Ministry of Justice and Judiciary for waking up to their responsibility by creating enlightenment on provisions of the law, which further propelled the process and Governor Samuel Ortom for its speedy passage.
On her part, Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ngunan Adingi applauded the collaborative efforts of FIDA and civil society Organizations, expressed hope that the Ministry of justice in ensuring that indigenes benefit from the laws.
She highlighted the challenges faced during the process of pushing for the passage of both laws.
Mrs Adingi thanked the Speaker State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba for his dedication to bring the law to fruition.
On her part, the Benue State Coordinator Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Dr.Helen Teghtegh explained that the CSOs had engaged in aggressive campaigns to give face to the laws.
Dr. Teghtegh however expressed disappointment that despite CSOs numerous efforts for the success of the law no credence or recognition was given to them by the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary.
Reacting to the press conference, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Barr. Michael Gusa denied knowledge of the law been initiated by FIDA and others and described the law as an executive law
Gusa further explained that he was directed by the Governor in 2018 as the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to liase with the State Judiciary to constitute a Committee to draw out a law that was passed at the national Assembly in 2015 with the view to replicating same in the State.
According to him the committee was made up of Justice Aondoaver Kakaan as the Chiarman, Justice Adams Onum former Chief Judge of Benue State retired, Barrister Michael Gusa, former NBA Chairman who worked tirelessly to ensure the frutfulness of the law that the Judiciary is celebrating.
He urged FIDA and the other relevant stakeholders claiming to have authored the law on administration of criminal Justice to go and look for their own law at the Benue Assembly.
” I am not aware that the law on administration of criminal Justice was privately sponsored, it is a n Executive law” Gusa stated.
Meanwhile, Govenor Samuel Ortom has appreciated the FIDA, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders for their untiring contribution to the domestication of the law administration on criminal Justice.
The Governor in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase and made available to Nigerian NewsDirect, said the untiring effort by the technical partners and non governmental organization in collaboration with the Benue State Executive Council and the Benue State House of Assembly have made domestication of the law reality in Benue.
He urged FIDA, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders to sustain the support given to his administration to enable his administration continue to work in the interest of Benue State.