UNHCR hands over renovated court to Adamawa state Judiciary 

Rebecca Mu’azu, Adamawa

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has handed over to the Adamawa State Government an upgraded Magistrate Court in Ganye, Ganye Local Government Area, which was destroyed by boko haram insurgents in 2013 and now upgraded to a High Court.

The then Magistrate Court was among other government and private facilities that were destroyed by the insurgents, in what the authorities described as the first attack in Adamawa State by the insurgents.

On March 22, 2013 in Ganye, Adamawa State boko haram insurgents attacked the town and destroyed government and private facilities, including the Magistrate Court, which has now been renovated and upgraded to a High Court.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the destruction had weaken access to justice and rule of law, hence their move to renovation and upgrade of the Magistrate Court in Ganye to a High Court.

Moreover, Ganye Chiefdom is playing host to over seven thousand internally displaced people and the Country Representative of the UNHCR, Mrs. Bridget Eno, says the upgrade of the Magistrate Court is part of the UN agency’s efforts in providing solutions to the issues of internally displaced People and returnees in the state, due to the relative peace being enjoyed in the place.

“With the improved security situation in Ganye and the commitment by the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary to bolster the Rule of Law in the state, the UNHCR was approached to provide support towards upgrading the Magistrate Court facility in Ganye to a High Court, allowing for jurisdiction in terms of serious offences and swift judicial proceedings and justice.”

“It is also my prayer that this court will also help in the prosecution of people who, especially violated the rights of women, children and other vulnerable people. Remember, No Justice, no peace,” said Mrs. Eno.

According to the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Mr Martins Babale, while thanking the UNHCR for the upgrade, says the provision of justice to the people is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration in the state.

“One of the cardinal principles of this administration is to ensure the ease of access to justice. Your concern will always ensure that the institutions and process of justice are brought near citizens.”

The Chief Judge has assured me that within this year, Gombi and Numan Judicial Division would be opened too, while that of Michika should come by early next year,” Mr. Babale said.

The Adamawa State Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Bala Silas Sang’a, said the state government would work with donor agencies, such as the UNHCR and European Union, to provide a Multi-door Court House in Ganye, with all aspects of justice to aid and facilitate the prosecution of offences.

“When we are talking about the presence of all the structures and access to justice, there should be focus on where the refugees actually are, where the refugee want to integrate and be part of the society and therefore, that for us is the platform for having a sexual assault Reporting Centre, a Forensics Laboratory, together with a Multi-door Court House, together with the entire paraphernalia that goes with the Judicial Justice Sector System,” said Mr. Sang’a.

The father of the Land, His Royal Highness, the Gangwari Ganye, Alhaji Umar Adamu Sand, who appreciated the upgrade of the Magistrate Court to a High Court, said the people of his chiefdom would now have access to quicker dispensation of justice.

Also, the Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Justice Ishaya Banu, was also full of commendations for the UNHCR for the kind gesture, while announcing the coming on board of the new High Courts in Numan, Gombi and Michika.

He also announce that the new High Court Judge would be posted to the Ganye High Court by October this year.

In the meantime, the Local Government Chairman, Emmanuel Mathias Jauro, announced the donation of the Government Lodge as the official residence of the soon to be deployed High Court Judge.

He has also been encouraged to fence the court complex and sink a bore hole in the premises for water supply.

The Adamawa State Commissioner of Justice also announced that the UN agency had agreed to build a new Magistrate Court right behind the High Court to provide the full complements of the court.

UNHCR’s interventions in the North-East

In another development the Country Representative of the UNHCR says it is facilitating the safe return of about four thousand Adamawa State indigenes living as refugees in the Republic of Cameroon, especially those who may require judicial attention.

Mrs. Eno said the returnees would require justice for their lands, which may now be occupied by others, as well as the documentation of children born outside the country to prevent them from becoming stateless and widows, who would claim back their husbands’ properties.

She said the UNHCR had been providing support for the conduct of mobile courts in Borno State, because most of the local government councils were yet to be accessible and even those that were accessible, were yet to have their judicial system in place.

Aisha JM