Benue assembly confirms Onum as new chief Judge
*Outgoing CJ Urges Governors To Grant Autonomy To Judiciary
The Benue House of Assembly yesterday confirmed the nomination of Justice Adam Onum as the new Chief Judge (CJ) of the state.According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the confirmation followed a letter of nomination addressed to the Speaker and read on the floor by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. James Okefe.
The letter stated that following the recommendation from the National Judicial Council (NJC), Governor Samuel Ortom had approved Onum’s appointment.The letter said the appointment was in line with Section 271 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Consequently, Adam Okloho (Adoka/Ugboju-APC) moved a motion that the nominee be confirmed and it was seconded by Adoga Onah (Oju-PDP).Announcing his confirmation, Okefe described the new CJ as an impeccable and impartial Judge whose track record of performance was outstanding.
Okefe commended the NJC and Ortom for finding Onum worthy to hold the position, adding that he was the first person from Benue South Senatorial District to be appointed to the position.The deputy speaker said Ortom had proved that the APC administration in the state was fair to all sections of the state.He advised the new Chief Judge to reciprocate the gesture of the governor by rededicating himself to the smooth administration of justice.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwamde, has urged the governors in the country to grant the state judiciary autonomy to enable them have financial independence.
Justice Hwamde, who made the call at a valedictory session to mark his retirement from active service yesterday in Makurdi, assuring that the judiciary is an arm of government and would not go out to destroy a government they are part of.
He said as the state Chief Judge, he had served under three governors and enjoyed working with all of them, saying the only problem he encountered with all of them was that the Judiciary was not adequately funded.
“It does appear to my mind that executive governors of several states in the federation are wary of granting financial autonomy to the judiciary. They harbour a feeling that if the judiciary become financially independent, it will become uncontrollable.
“I think that is a wrong notion, because the federal government has granted this financial autonomy to the federal Judiciary, but we see no abuse of judicial powers at that level,” he added.
Ortom, in his address at the occasion, said he had no problem granting the state judiciary financial autonomy, as it would also help reduce some responsibilities while they still rely on financial sources from the executives.
He said as chief judge of the state, Justice Hwamde had created a conducive environment for the Bench and the Bar to work harmoniously to serve the cause of justice, noting that it is to his credit that the judiciary in the state has grown from strength to strength, with many Judges from the state gaining prominence and elevations to higher positions on the Bench.He described Hwamde as a great, humble, God-fearing and erudite jurist, who had an outstanding career in the state judiciary.
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