The Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has predicted a rise in crime and criminality in the recession the country is in now.
Obiano stated this at the Anambra State judiciary’s Legal Year
He called on the judiciary to sit up and be determined in discharging its duty, especially in sentencing criminals to prison.
The governor said there should be landmark judgements in this era that would serve as deterrents to wrong doers in the society.
The governor spoke during a church service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, to mark the 2016/2017 legal year of the Anambra State judiciary.
He said no excuse should be tolerated on why a criminal should not be properly punished according to the law.
He said, “The usual citing of refusal by victims to come up with evidence for the prosecution of criminals should not be a reason for criminal offenders to be set free.
“With the effect of the economic recession biting even harder, there is the tendency that more criminals will go into operation, but it is the duty of the judiciary to ensure that anyone found guilty is convicted.
“We know that as a result of the recession people are suffering, but that is not an excuse to go into crime.
“My government has recently announced packages that would help cushion the effect of the harsh economy, which include the suspension of some taxes and mapping out of N3.5bn to be given as loans to small business owners.
“We are aware of the sufferings of the people, and that is why we are making these provisions. So, there is no reason for anyone to indulge in crime.
“You guys (judges) have to look for a way to put criminals behind the bar.”
Obiano however gave a reason for the imperfection in the legal judgment and the victims. He said, “Victims of crimes are usually afraid of coming to testify against criminals because they know that sooner or later, the criminals will get out.
“But if criminals are sentenced, people’s confidence will return and they will be ready to testify.”
In his sermon, the Catholic Bishop of Awka diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, decried controversial judgments some judges deliver these days.
He tasked judges to be fair to everybody in justice dispensation, stressing that they should shun the temptation of delivering “cash and carry judgements.”
In his address, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Peter Umeadi, decried the poor conditions of service of judiciary workers in the state.
He said despite the fact that the judiciary was the third highest revenue generating sector in the state, its workers were poorly remunerated.
He said, “I have not stopped extolling the heroic men and women who work in the Judiciary of Anambra State in various capacities.
“It would seem that their sense of duty got accentuated even as their conditions of service and those of their work place got more parlous.
“The denial of their emoluments and entitlements has been asphyxiating with a tendency to lower their morale.