An Appeal Court complex built by the Delta State government has been inaugurated in Asaba as the 17th Division.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony performed by the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Monday, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa said the court will help speed up the wheel of justice for the people.
Okowa explained that before now the state was served by the Court of Appeal, Benin Division “with growing economic, political and social activities, the judges were overburdened”.
He disclosed that between 50 and 60 per cent of the recent election petitions that went up to the Court of Appeal in Benin were from Delta state alone.
According to him, “The creation of the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division, is therefore a welcome relief. It will decongest the court’s cause list and eliminate the attendant risks and costs associates with frequent trips to Benin and back to Delta,” he added.
He expressed hope that the court would ensure speedy access to justice in a cost-effective manner and its presence as a federal institution would enhance the profile of the state, create job and impact positively of the retail economy.
In her speech, Justice Bukalchuwa, noted that the new division would help address the existing “traffic and congestion” in the court as well as reduce the attending costs of accessing justice by litigants across the country.
She said the appellate court at inception in 1976, had only three judicial division: Lagos, Kaduna and Enugu.
She said: “In 1977, the number was increased to five with the establishment of Benin and Ibadan divisions; subsequently other divisions were added and the court had 16th division as at yesterday.
“Today, we are here to commission the 17th Division if the Court of Appeal in Asaba, Delta.
“The establishment of the new division is an aspect of the judicial reform agenda to enhance access to justice and speedy disposal of cases as well as efficient administration of justice.
“It is for this reason that the court of appeal is seeking to increase the number of its divisions to reduce difficulty associated with many distance travels, cost of transportation and delay due to congestions.”
She commended lauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, and the Delta State government for making it possible to have the court.
Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, said the construction of the complex commenced on Sept. 23, 2019.
Ebie said that the complex has modern facilities comparable to any other in the country.
“It has a sizable reception room, two court halls, six chambers for the presiding judge and five other justices, office spaces for the registrars, rooms for lawyers and conveniences.
“It also has a restaurants and e-library named after the President of the Court of Appeal,” the SSG said.
He also said that the Asaba Airport had been repositioned to meet the need of the people with its facilities upgraded and standardised.