The Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has sworn in a new Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Beatrice Lazarus Iliya, following the retirement of the Chief Judge, Justice Hakila Heman, who has attained the retirement age of 65.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya commended the former Chief Judge for his meritorious and selfless service to the Government and people of Gombe State. He congratulated the newly sworn-in Acting Chief Judge, Justice Beatrice Lazarus Iliya, the next most Senior Judge in the High Court of Justice, for her well-deserved appointment.
He described Justice Beatrice-Iliya as a respectable Judge deserving of the exalted office and believed her dedication, experience, principled posture and forth-rightness made her an asset to the Judiciary and the entire State, and the Country as a whole.
Governor Yahaya said for the three arms of government to partner in the development of the state, a harmonious working relations between them was required.
He commended and congratulated the retired Chief Judge as a respectable judge, who had served as Chief Judge of Gombe State for more than 20 years; 29 years as a judge and 41 years in the judiciary.
While congratulating Justice Iliya, who is the next most senior judge in the state, Governor Yahaya described her as a respectable judge, worthy of the position and urged her to create harmonious working relations between the three arms of government for the development of the state.
Dedicated to service
Earlier, a valedictory session was held in honour of the retired Chief Judge, Justice Hakila Heman, who worked with one military administrator and four civilian governors.
“My relations with each of these governors, and by extension, between the executive and the judiciary have been most cordial and harmonious. I must place on record, the fact that none of these chief executives ever tried to influence me in the official discharge of my duties or put undue influence on the outcome of any case before any of the judges of the high court. Each of them cooperated with me by according me personal respect, which transcended officialdom. My relations with the current governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and his Deputy, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau, predated their election into office,” Justice Heman said.
Some of the records of Justice Heman’s successes while in office include the introduction of a marriage registry at the High Court, establishment of 15 magistrate courts, eight Upper Area Courts, 45 Area Courts and five legal court inspectorate offices, all spread throughout the state, among others.
“The Judicial Service Commission, which I have chaired since 1999had in the exercise of its constitutional duties, initiated the process, which led to the appointment of eight High Court Judges, two Grand Khadis and four Khadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal. It also appointed three Chief Registrars for the High Court, five Chief Registrars for the Sharia Court of Appeal and also appointed numerous magistrates, Area and Upper Area Court Judges, court members and employed many staff of many cadre of the judiciary. The commission regularly sought to promote deserving staff of the judiciary,” said Justice Heman.
He however said he faced numerous challenges, such as inadequate budgeting and funding of the judiciary by the state, non-construction of a modern High Court Complex, non-establishment of a Customary Court of Appeal, as well as the failure to construct a courthouse to house the court of Appeal in Gombe, among others.
He hoped the current government in Gombe State would give the issues top priority.
Governor Yahaya said the report of the committee he set up during the transition period outlined the challenges facing the Judiciary, such as lack of sufficient court buildings, among others.
Governor Yahaya pledged his commitment to improve the general working condition of the Judiciary, despite the financial difficulties the state was facing at the moment.