The Acting Chief Judge of Kogi State, Hon. Justice Henry Olusiyi, has commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for the establishment of Office of the Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission (PDCRC), aimed at providing legal service free of charge to indigent citizens.
The chief judge gave the commendation when the Director General of the commission, Barr. Abdullahi Zakari, led a team of lawyers in an advocacy visit to his office on Thursday in Lokoja.
Olusiyi thanked the governor for establishing the commission saying, ”by this singular action His Excellency, Gov. Yahaya Bello, has proved that he is people’s oriented and friendly governor especially to the downtrodden.
He also eulogised the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ibrahim Sanni Muhammed SAN, for the initiative and the critical transformation in the sector.
The chief judge promised by God’s grace to build on the past legacies of his predecessor and also surpass them.
He noted that Zakari’s appointment as the pioneer DG of the commission was putting a round peg in a round hole, noting that he is hardworking, knowledgeable and a committed legal officer.
He, therefore, urged the DG to ensure that he focus and deliver on the core mandate of the commission.
”Anytime you call on us we will make sure that your cases are giving expeditious action and speedy hearing.
”Our doors are widely opened and we will always stand by you to give you the necessary support”, Olusiyi said.
Earlier, the DG of the Commission, Barr. Abdullahi Zakari, said the team were in C.J’s office to introduce the commission to him, intimate him of their programmes, and solicit for his support, cooperation and advise on their activities.
Zakari noted the State Government had recently posted 12 Lawyers to work in the commission with other supportive staff, aimed at speeding the dispensation of criminal justice act in the state
”Access to justice should be of great concern to every Government; the multipliers effect are delay in justice, prison congestion and increase in crime rate”, he said.
The DG explained that the core mandate of the commission is to provide free legal service to the citizens and residents of Kogi who mIght not be able to afford the service lawyers, and protect the right of every resident of Kogi across the 21 LGAs.
”The commission is also saddled with the responsibility to provide legal representation in court for both civil and criminal matters.
“The commission is independent as it is the creation of the statute and expected operate as such.
”We solicit for your guidance, prayers and support including the area of integrity, to ensure that the commission lives up to her mandate or objectives.
”What will sustain the commission is the integrity of the staff; your patronage is key to the success of our work”, Zakari said.