* Lament rising cases of judicial officers kidnap

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Lawyers in the employment of the federal and state governments and their agencies have expressed displeasure about rising cases of interference in the operations of the Judiciary by the other arms of government.

The lawyers, under the aegis of the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN), also expressed displeasure about the growing security challenge in the country and urged the Federal Government to take necessary steps.

They frowned at the increasing number of judges kidnapped, the inability of the state to promptly effect the release of the kidnapped Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Chioma Nwosu-lheme, and called for special security arrangement for lawyers involved in the prosecution of cases for the government.

These are contained in a communique issued at the end of LOAN’s 4th Annual General Conference, held in Abuja between November 3 and 7, 2019.

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LOAN encouraged other arms of government to give the Judiciary free hand and the needed independence to carry out her constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour.

It called on both the federal and state governments to take action and assign security protection to law officers, as well as security allowances as is obtainable in other climes.

Part of the communique reads as follows:

“The Conference noted with concern the state of insecurity in the nation and condemned the wanton destruction of lives and properties orchestrated by terrorists, herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers and the likes in the nation, and called on the Federal Government and security agencies to put in place measures to stamp out these anomalies.

“The conference received with shock the news of the kidnap of Honourable Justice Chioma Nwosu-lheme (PhD), a Justice of the Court of Appeal and Honourable Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, which was recently released by his captors.

“The Conference therefore called upon the Federal Government to put every security apparatus in motion to ensure the immediate release of the Justice of the Court of Appeal, who is still in captivity.

“The Conference also holds its heart out to the family of the slain Police Orderly to Honourable Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme (Phd), who was gruesomely murdered by the kidnappers of the said Justice.

“The conference urged all Nigerians to be security conscious and proactive through timely report of security threats and breaches to the appropriate security agencies.

“LOAN describes as false the view that the Federal and States Ministries of Justice are not revenue generating agency and reiterates that apart from saving government revenue from judgment debts, Ministries of Justice also generate revenue from charges/fm for vetting contracts, management of property by the Administrators-General and Public Trustees, processing of fiats, etc, and calls on governments (that are yet to do so) to set up mechanisms to achieve this and other initiatives.

“LOAN resolved that a letter of commendation from LOAN be sent to States that have implemented harmonization of salaries of law officers and made significant strides in the welfare of law officers; and appealed that states yet to implement the harmonization of salaries and peculiar allowances of law officers should do so without further delay.”

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