By Hussaina Yakubu
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Monday presented 24 Jeeps to High Court judges, as part of efforts to enhance the welfare of judicial officers in the state.
The governor, said while presenting the vehicles to the judges in Kaduna that more vehicles would be provided to other judges.
El-Rufai also disclosed plans by the government to construct housing estates for the judges.
“The next beneficiaries will be Khadis of Sharia Court of Appeal and judges of the Customary Court of Appeal. They will be delivered soon by God’s grace, not only the incoming judges but also the existing ones.
“The state government has plans to develop housing estate for senior judges, as currently, judges are accommodated in government buildings scattered across the state.
“We believe that if we develop housing estate where all the senior judges will be in comfortable accommodation, with club house and shopping facility, they will have a self-contained community and better security..
“We are working on that and very soon the developer will approach heads of courts to look at the design that are suitable,’’ he said.
The governor added that the government was working on retirement and post retirement housing scheme for judicial staff, as it is one of the issues that bother most civil servants as they approach retirement.
“We are working on a scheme to brief heads of courts while they develop houses for sale to senior judges and provide mortgage facilities for them at single digits interest for them to acquire these houses and pay over a period of 15-20 years.
“Every citizens of Kaduna is entitled to a house, we cannot provide for everyone, but we will provide a framework that will give everyone the opportunity to borrow and buy a house over 15 to 20 years
“We already have this in place, we have agreement with three banks and we already have N4 billion to lend to people,’’ the governor said.
According, to him, the government also has plan to provide one central area for all courts in Kaduna instead of the scattered manner they are located.
“We are looking at a place where we can build something similar to the Federal Capital Territory with about 20 high courts in one place and relocate the courts scattered all over town.
“We will do something similar in Zaria, Kachia, Kafanchan, Birnin-Gwari and Saminaka and in all the major sections of the state, so that dispensation of justice will be easier and better.
“We will work with the judiciary to put-in technology to help ease the work load of judges,’’ El-Rufai said.
He lamented that judges over work themselves and are under-appreciated, noting that Kaduna state judiciary is ranked number one by the World Bank Ranking on the ease of doing business and in handling commercial dispute.
He reiterated his continuous support to the judiciary, urging them to remain the best as he would push for more judges to reduce the work load.
On his part, the state’s Chief Judge, Mohammed Bello thanked the state government for the gesture, saying that it was first of its kind.
“It is an honour done to the judiciary, where each judge will have a car given to him by the state government.
“We thank you so much for all you have done and other things you are doing for us in the judiciary.
“We look forward to receiving the remaining vehicles for sharia court of appeal and customary court of appeal judges,’’ he said.
Bello disclosed that he was speaking with the National Judicial Service Commission on the redeployment of 47 additional judges to the state. (NAN)