The Edo State Judiciary on Monday 9th January, 2017 inaugurated the family court to exclusively handle matters pertaining to child abuse in compliance with the Child Rights Law 2007. The inauguration of the Court marks the beginning of the implementation of the Edo State Child Rights Bill which was passed into law in 2007 and was assented to by the then Governor of Edo State, His Excellency Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor.
In his speech at the inauguration, the Hon. Chief Judge of the state, Hon. Justice Cromwell Idahosa, said the Child Rights Act extensively caters for the interest and rights of the child, adding that the family court would have exclusive jurisdiction to handle all matters pertaining to children in both civil and criminal matters.
“With the inauguration of this court, there shall now be speedy trial in matters relating to children’s welfare and protection, specifically from undue exposure and exploitation. The court will strive to provide families with the best possible outcome in child rights cases in accordance with the law and best global practices.”
The Chairperson of the Family Court Implementation Committee Hon. Justice H. A. Courage Ogbebor commended the Hon. Chief Judge for ensuring that the Family Court is inaugurated during his tenure as Chief Judge Edo State and also commended the former Chairperson of the Family Court Implementation Committee Hon. Justice N. A. Imoukhuede for her dedication.
The State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, said if Nigeria could implement the family court, it would go a long way to address some of the challenges facing families. He gave the assurance that the State Government would support the Judiciary.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ede Asenoguan Esq., said the inauguration of the court would place the state among the few ones in the country that have established a family court to cater for the rights of children as envisaged by the Child Rights Law of Edo State 2007.The NBA State branch Chairman observed;
“We are happy that today, our collective dream of caring for the Rights of our children has been given a boost by this inauguration today. Certainly, our children are vulnerable and violated. They sure deserve better and I believe that no effort should be spared in ensuring that the Rights of Children are protected and enforced whenever or wherever same is breached or violated,” he said.
Goodwill messages also came in from the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria represented by K. S. Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), SMILE (Sustainable Mechanism for Improving Livelihood and Household Empowerment), UNICEF, NAPTIP, NPDC, Edo State Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development and Edo State Children’s Parliament.
The occasion also witnessed the formal launching of the Edo State Family Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2017 which is the applicable rules of procedure in the Family Court.
The Court is constituted by a sitting Judge or Magistrate and two assessors who are to be sworn-in by the Hon. Chief Judge of the State.