Okowa declares autonomy for Delta judiciary

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has declared full autonomy for the state judiciary in line with the constitution.

Okowa announced this in Asaba on Tuesday when he received the chief judge of the state, Justice Marshal Umukoro, who came with other judges to the Government House to intimate the governor of his impending retirement.

According to him, with the signing of Judiciary Autonomy law in January 2021 and the setting up of the relevant committees by the chief judge, the state is set to begin the process of implementing full autonomy for the judiciary.

The governor stated that the House of Assembly had been enjoying autonomy since two years ago even when some states were yet to start the process.

“I have never been against it, and that’s why we went ahead to push for the law. The House of Assembly has been operating its own autonomy since two years even before they started talking about it in this country.

“It has worked; I have not found any reason to regret that action. So, I believe too that there is no reason why the judiciary cannot run its own autonomy.

“I do also believe that it does not stop the three arms of the government from relating.

“The budgets are made on a yearly basis and the only challenge is that many times we are unable to fund them in full. However, what will be released on a monthly basis will be subject to the returns that come from Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC),” he said.

He explained that with the commencement of the full process, the chief judge was empowered to effect his own direct approvals without having to resort to the governor.

“I am very happy to do that because it reduces the number of files on my table. So, I want to announce the full autonomy of the judiciary with the setting up of the committees.

“I am not doing this for any gains. I believe that it’s right and just; I believe too that it’s in the best interest of governance in our nation and that’s how we have also thought about it in the House of Assembly.

“I want to generally advise that autonomy does not stop governance from progressing; in fact, it helps governance and I believe that it is something worth doing,’’ Okowa stated

He thanked judges in the state for their role in ensuring delivery of justice.

Earlier, Justice Umukoro said he led the judges to visit the governor as part of the valedictory activities leading to his disengagement as head of the judicial arm of government in Delta.

He expressed appreciation to Governor Okowa for his support to him since he became the helmsman of the judiciary in 2015.

“Since I came on board six years ago, you treated me as a brother and I am grateful for your support even during the death of my wife.

“As chief judge of Delta, I can confidently say that we have never had any crisis and we have been able to manage ourselves effectively,” he stated.