By Ukongikwen Adie
The Governor of Cross River State, Senator Prince Bassey Otu has assured the Judiciary of his administration’s commitment to put an end to the many challenges within the sector in the State.
Governor Otu made this known at the official opening of the 2023/2024 Legal Year held at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Marian Hill, Calabar to mark the commencement of legal activities in Cross River State.
Governor Otu, who was represented by his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey said a legal year is a time for Legal Practitioners to recommit and dedicate themselves to the ideals of the profession and charged them to embrace technology as the collaboration between the legal profession and technological advancement has the potential to revolutionise how the dispensation of justice is approached.
He, however, called on them to be vigilant in the face of these challenges which technological advancement brings because the boundary between the physical and virtual are blurred.
Governor Otu added that the legal year affords the Judiciary the opportunity to reflect on the state of access to justice in our society, emphasising that they must always strive to ensure that justice is not only available to those who can afford it but all members of the society.
“They must work for a legal system that is not only efficient and fair but also inclusive and responsive to all individuals regardless of their social or economic background,” he said.
The State helmsman further admonished that as they embark on this legal year, let them be guided by the principles of integrity, professionalism and compassion while also embracing peace and inclusion.
He assured the Judiciary that this administration will collaborate with and equip the Judges with all that is necessary to ensure that they discharge their duties responsibly.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of Cross River State, Hon. Justice Akon B. Ikpeme, said it was traditional for her and the Judiciary to begin the legal year in God’s presence.
While thanking the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Charles Etim, Esq., for the homily, she prayed that God would see to their lives, guide and remind them that one day, they too will stand before the greatest Judge of all.
Justice Ikpeme encouraged the judicial officers to go back to the drawing board as the legal year began and do what they could do with their consciences in place. She appreciated all who left their busy schedules to grace the occasion.
Present at the event were the officiating priests, the Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, His Lordship, the President of the Cross River State Customary Court of Appeal, Their Lordships, Honourable Judges of the Cross River State High Court, The Attorney General of Cross River State, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, The Chief Registrar, Magistrates, The Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary of the Cross River State Ministry of Justice, The Director of Public Prosecution, Members of the Bar, Counsel of the Cross River State Ministry of Justice, amongst others.