Appreciation and Remarks By the Chairman Magistrates’ Association Of Nigeria (MAN) Nasarawa State, Abdullahi H. Shams Shama on the Occasion Of the Swearing-in Ceremony of the thirty Newly Appointed Magistrates In Nasarawa State, on Thursday 1st July, 2021, at The Headquarters Of High Court, Lafia.
Let me stand on existing protocol earlier established.
It gives me great joy to welcome you all to this memorable occasion. Indeed it is a rare privilege to be in your midst. The history of Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) dates back to 1970 in Lagos, while in Nasarawa state since the creation of the state. In 1996 The first leadership of MAN in Nasarawa state was Mr. Haruna Offo (now the justice of High Court of justice from 1996-2003. Then followed by Mr Smaila Hussaini Inji (late)of Customary court of Appeal. 3rd, Mr Z..Z. Alumaga who resigned and join politics. 4th was Mustapha Ramat (now the Justice of High Court of justice). 5th was Ibrahim Suleiman Galadima, now Justice of Industrial court. The 6th waa Victor Vincent Manga 2013-2019, Zonal chief magistrate Keffi. 7th is Abdullahi Hassan Shams Shama 2019- till date.
The journey of Magistrates is like the Journey of the magi T.S.Eliot. Going by statistic we have 36 courts manned by magistrate while 16 cut across administrative magistrates amounting to 52. With the Swearing-in of magistrates today make it a total of 82. While the number may seem large. I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln when he said “There is always a room upstairs”. So it will not be out of place to appoint more magistrates in the state to cater for the justice sector.
Let me highlight AIMS AND OBJECTIVES of MAN as:
(a) To promote mutual understanding and knowledge amongst the magistrates in Nasarawa State.
(b) To promote within Nasarawa State and the country at large the interest of the Magistracy.
(c) To unite all Magistrates in purpose, direction and action in knowledge and order standing of Magistrate of the judicial function, the administration of justice, the treatment of offenders and the prevention of crime.
(d) To disseminate information and literature on all matters in intersect to concern to Magistrate.
(e) To serve as a medium through which the Magistrates may speak and act, united in all matters of public interest.
(f) To render assistance to ourselves, the Association in particular and the country at large and to effect the closes possible links between its members.
(g) To establish relations with other organizations in the endeavour to create interest in and aid in the solution of present day legal, educational, social, moral and economic problems and co-operate with other body or bodies having similar aims or objectives both in and outside Nigeria.
(h) To promote the welfare of the members generally such as in times of bereavement, prosecution or other troubles arising out of in the course of their duties as Magistrates.
Let me once again welcome and congratulate the newly appointee. You are now one of us. Indeed it has not been bed of roses as magistrates are facing so many challenges. The struggle to better the welfare of magistrates had been a long struggle and agitation, even when there was an existing law passed in 2015 ( Nasarawa state Harmonization of Condition of service of Magistrates, Draftsmen, State counsel, Area court Judges and Inspectors). It never s the light of the day until the tenure of Engr A.A. Sule and our own Chief Judge Hon. Justice Aisha Bashir Aliyu. Equally we appreciate His Excellency Engr A.A .Sule who made it possible for Magistrates to own vehicle (Cars) as a result of fifty million naira grant (N50,000,000) on tripartite agreement. The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Dr Abdulkarim A. Kana was very instrumental and we equally appreciate him.
My Lord, The Chief judge is truly a mother for granting us a befitting Secretariat and operating an open door policy we never had it better. However like the Oliver Twist we are asking for more and we will continue to ask for more.
While we commend the renovations, restructuring and rehabilitation of our courts we further pray that the plight of magistrates be looked into so as to ginger us to do more. It is in this regard and on behalf of the entire Magistrates we present to you, The Chief Judge HON. JUSTICE AISHA BASHIR ALIYU AWARD OF EXCELLENCE:
“We honor you this day to show our appreciation for all of your hard work and dedication. Thank you for being a great leader.Being our Chief Judge is a blessing that is not unspoken. May God continue to bless and keep you standing.” Ameen
Remarks by the Nasarawa State Chief Judge
The Grand Khadi of Nasarawa State. Hon. Justice Abdullahi Muhammad
The President, Customary Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Emmanuel O. Osgede.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Abubakar A. ana
The Honorable Judges and Kadis of Superior Court of Records,
The Secretary and Members Judicial Service Commission,
Other Chief Registrars of the State Judiciary,
Members of the Inner and Outer Bar,
Distinguished Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this epoch making occasion i.e the swearing-in ceremony of 30 newly appointed Magistrates. This is the ninth (9) of its kind since Nasarawa State was created. The last time Magistrates were appointed was in 2012. Today, as many as 30 Magistrates would be sworn-in. This is not by accident, but a conscious attempt to make justice accessible to all and sundry at the least possible cost. The appointment of such a large number of you at one time is indeed, first and foremost to take care of existing vacuum as a result of the creation of some courts, and secondly, retirement, elevation of Some Magistrates to superior bench.
Perhaps it is appropriate to state that the appointees are appointed by the Judicial Service commission referred to as J.S.C of the state which is a creation of the constitution by virtue of S.197(1) ( c )(2) and part ll of the third schedule of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.Those of you to be sworn-in must count yourselves very lucky, having sat for examination and rigorous interview conducted and selected from 62 applicants, been selected from quite a large number of applicants who strenuously competed for the available vacancies.
Your appointment have been necessitated by the need to fill in vacant positions created as a result of death ,resignation, retirement of serving officers and elevation to superior courts. This explains the plethora of request from various communities for the citing of either Magistrates’ or Upper Area court and Area courts in their communities.
4The desire to meet these requests gave birth to establishment of more courts in the state.
Indeed a cursory look at the appointees, they are mostly a blend of young and old this it appears will agitate many minds. While not losing sight of the fact that ordinarily age goes with wisdom, the J.S.C is not unmindful of the fact that maturity is also in the mind. Wherein like lady of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice “ any of them could be referred to as “A Daniel is come to Judgment… “O wise young judge”,a worthy Judge, most learned Judge.” However, you have been chosen on merit. Have at the back of your mind that you must be or strive to be adept in the law to attain these lofty ideals stated herein above because “The ignorance of the judge is the doom of the innocent”.
The state Judiciary, and indeed, the entire state places a measure of confidence on you. Therefore, it is our fervent hope that you will not betray this confidence. You must be seen to perform this role to the best of your ability. To achieve this, you must eschew tribalism, sectionalism, favoritism, corruption and all vices that are likely to becloud your vision in the course of your adjudication. Your conduct in and out of courtroom must be seen to conform to all judicial ethics. The rich and the poor, the weak and the strong will appear before you for justice. You have a sacred duty to do justice to all according to the merit of their cases.
You must be careful in construing the law so that your interpretation of same does not take leave of common sense. The moment you do that, you would ridicule yourself and the public would ask in most sarcastic manner like shylock the Jew “Is that the law?.
As you take oath today and thereafter proceed to attachments and various courts, you must be as wise as ants and you must mind your company, words and actions. You must be polite and courteous yet courageous, you must be upright and above board so as to earn your respect, hence your words must be your bond. On our part we will endeavor to organized periodic in- house workshops on topical legal issues of daily occurrence in your courts to broaden your knowledge as well as inculcate decorum in your behaviours.
Let me reiterate and draw your attention to the fact that on no account should you entertain cases that you lack jurisdiction territorially, monetarily or on the parties, subject matter or competence of the case before you. It suffices to state that where there are such proven and reported cases, such person would not escape disciplinary measure by the J.S.C. It has come to my knowledge that some magistrates are fond of issuing or granting order without recourse to laid down procedure especially Mararaba–Karu axis. Very soon a practice Direction will be put in place to curb the excesses and ensure the modus operandi of order and affidavits.
It is salient to stress that the Judicial service commission in its bid to ensure efficient justice delivery system had sometimes in the past dualised the designation of appointment of Magistrates to also read Magistrate/Area court Judge so that a magistrate can be posted to either a Magistrate’s court or an Area court. However the present appointee are designated Magistrate only.
It is worthy of mention that the 2015 harmonised allowance law of magistrates, law officer, draftsmen, inspectors of Area court and Area court judge has been implemented and efforts are being made with a view of causing the implementation of financial autonomy of Judiciary in Nasarawa state wherein committee had been inaugurated in that regard.
I congratulate you on your well deserved appointments. May God grant you journey mercies to your destination.
Thank you and God bless.