Judiciary

Kwara Govt. raises alarm over spate of kidnapping cases

The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo (SAN)

Kwara state government has raised the alarm that kidnapping for ransom in the country has become a veritable source through which state funds are being siphoned under the pretext that the demands of the kidnappers must be met to save lives of victims of the crime.

The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo (SAN), said this at the the 2021/2022 new legal year, valedictory court session for retiring judges, presentation of newly appointed judges of the Kwara state High Court and unveiling of the new High Court civil procedure rules in Ilorin on Monday.

The Commissioner for Justice said that the time is now to reconsider/review the obsolete “presumption of innocence” of defendants with respect to some crimes threatening the corporate existence of us as human beings and our right to live in peace.

“The wake of insecurity in our country is more than challenging, as no one can now sleep with the two eyes closed.

The phenomenon of kidnapping for ransom has transmuted into a lucrative venture sustained by hoodlums with active connivance of unscrupulous persons. It has become a veritable source through which state funds are siphoned under the pretext that the demands of the kidnappers must be met to save lives of the victims of the crime.

“The judiciary, as the last hope of the common man, needs to be more on its toes to save us from the menace now eating deep into our flesh. I keep wondering why the kidnapping cases are taking much time to determine.

“Honestly, the fact that people who engage in such heinous act in full view of the law, justify the call for the complete overhaul of our criminal justice system particularly the aspect that deals with the apprehension of criminals, prompt investigation of cases and quick trial.

“I hold the view and with supreme confidence that, now is the time to reconsider/review the obsolete “presumption of innocence” of defendants with respect to some crimes threatening the corporate existence of us as human beings and our right to live in peace. I rest my case, Sirs”, he said.

The Kwara state attorney general, who also implored judges in the state to keep abreast of time and be conversant with the technological developments in the judicial process, said that virtual proceedings is gradually becoming a norm and has been included in the various rules of courts.

“Many wouldn’t have imagined it possible to address My lords from the comfort of their offices and rooms, but we now have it even before the Supreme
Court of Nigeria.

“It should also be noted that trial in open court has transcended outside the four walls of the Courtroom with trials now enjoying live online reportage and monitoring from anywhere in the world”, he said.

While congratulating the newly appointed judges, Jawondo said that the position of a judge is highly revered, coveted and respected in the sight of God and man.

“Therefore, I urge your lordships to be “good judges” and to remember that, as you judge, you are being judged by the people and you will eventually be judged by God Almighty.

“To be good judges, your lordships are urged to imbibe the four basic qualities that make a “good judge”:
You must hear courteously
You must answer wisely
You must consider soberly, and
You must decide impartially according to law”

Also speaking, a legal icon in the country, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, called on law enforcement agencies in the country to be more up and doing in fighting crime to save lives and property.

“The government should also embark on use of technology to fight crime, such as kidnapping, banditry etc. For instance, deployment of drones will go a long way to fight criminality in the country”, he said.

Chief Judge of Kwara state, Justice Suleiman Kawu, also used the occasion to call for enactment of the judiciary autonomy law in the state.

“Like Oliver Twist, we will keep asking your excellence for more. It is in this regard we crave your indulgence to kindly look into enactment of judiciary autonomy law, provision of more court rooms, vehicles, payment of gratuities to retired judges and khadis”.

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