The Edo State Judiciary is partnering with the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (SEDIN) Programme of the German Development Agency (GIZ). The objective of the programme is to improve the employment and income situation of MSMEs through access to finance and business services, strengthening entrepreneurial and managerial skills, and addressing key barriers in the business environment and investment climate of selected states in Nigeria. In line with this objective, SEDIN is partnering with Edo State Judiciary, being one of its focal states to improve the system for commercial dispute resolution and contract enforcement in the state.
One of the key indicators used by investors globally in assessing national and states economics across the world is the ease of enforcing contracts. This basically deals with how easy it is to enforce commercial or business contracts among entities in terms of number of processes, ease of the processes, cost, and predictability of the processes. As part of its contribution to the efforts of Edo State Government to improve the investment climate in Edo State and stimulate economic activities, the state judiciary has embarked on series of reforms including the establishment of Multi-Door Courthouse and small claim courts all of which has improved the contract enforcement system in Edo state especially for MSMEs.
To further strengthen the system, SEDIN is now supporting the Edo State Judiciary to train and certify panel of neutrals in mediation and conciliation. At the opening event for the training, the Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon Justice Esther Edigin stated that the Edo state judiciary believes this partnership will lead to effective and efficient commercial ADR which will fast track commercial dispute settlement which saves time and cost and an important reform for contract enforcement and improved business enabling environment in the state. The representative of SEDIN-GIZ, Akin Omoware Esq further explained that the beneficiaries of the SEDIN-GIZ Programme include the poor and vulnerable who do not have the wherewithal to enforce their contractual rights especially through the formal justice system that is technical, expensive and adversarial. As part of SEDIN’s inclusive business approach, this partnership will contribute to the efficient ADR system in the Edo state and give access to affordable system of commercial dispute resolutions for MSMEs including farmers who would not have been able to afford or access the regular court process to enforce their contractual rights.
Edo State Judiciary has had eight (8) Judges sworn into the state’s High Court recently. The new Judges who are;
Were tasked by the Governor of the State Mr. Godwin Obaseki to be impartial in their dispensation of Justice, while performing the swearing-in ceremony. The Governor promised his support in adopting the new technology in the dispensation of Justice in order to ease the burden of work on the Judges.
Governor Obaseki while promising to hand over the newly built quarters to the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Esther Edigin, said his administration has plans of rebuilding courts and Judges quarters outside the State Capital this year as, according to him, the appropriate environment has to be provided for the Judges to work efficiently and smoothly.
The governor who was elated at the history making event, said, it was part of his administration’s avowed commitment to strengthen the Rule of Law by ensuring the Judiciary is one of the strongest arms of government as that would bring about a virile democracy. He further urged them to carry on their duties without fear or favour as their appointment is from God and not from any man.
In his response, on behalf of the newly sworn in Judges, Hon. Justice Williams Aziegbemhin, who until his appointment was the Chief Registrar, High Court, Edo State, thanked his Excellency, the Governor of the state and the Honourable Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Esther Edigin for ensuring that the appointment process was transparent, fair and conclusive.
He also stated that the desires of the new Judges now is to abide by the Oath of Office, uphold the principles of Justice, the ethics of the profession and to dispense Justice to all without fear or favour.
Hon. Justice Aziegbemhin further used the opportunity to thank the Governor for the beautiful 12 new Court Halls/Complex at the High Court premises and also the employment of 100 trained Stenographers to ensure effective administration of Justice in Edo State.
Also present at the ceremony held in the New Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City, with strict observance of COVID-19 protocol, was the first female Chief Judge of the State, Justice Constance Momoh.
Nwine, Nekpen Maureen
Senior Information Officer
Edo State Judiciary