WHITHER DEPT OF JUSTICE AND FAIR PLAY

0
953

One of the most welcome innovations which came with the administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s administration is the creation of the department of Justice and fair play in the Ministry of Justice.

Public reactions at its inception were overwhelmingly positive because it is supposed to do away with the usual official redtapism and insensitivity, the hallmark of previous administrations.

Unfortunately, the euphoric applause has paled and subsided to apathy just because the department has been in come since it came into being.

In view of this, questions are being asked whether it came to be still born because of unforeseen structural problems? Others welcome its possible demise claiming that it was designed to boost the human rights records of Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s administration.

The negative perception is informed by inactivity on the part of those who floated the scheme. In fact, the only reason to believe that it is in existence is the public notice which announced its creation and functions. The seemingly oppressed were advised to have recourse to the department once their basic human rights were infringed by either an individual or a corporate body.

It further enjoined the aggrieved to contact its foot soldiers empowered by the department to document grievances forwarded to it for action that was all. That came from the department by way of publicity.

Really, its coming into being brought joy and relief to many homes particularly the economically marginalized poor. These poor Nigerians cannot eye the courts of law for a legal redress much less engage the expensive services of lawyers to argue their cases in courts.

Another legal impediment which discourages litigants is not only the legal fees but the incessant court adjournments and the mandatory transport fees for lawyers. These ranges between N4,000 and N9,000 within the state depending on distance and the caliber of the engaged lawyers. The total financial outlay in some cases may be lawful especially when it took about fifteen years to determine a suit in court.

The oddity is one of the tragedies of the nation’s judicial system. Within the period of pendancy, the litigant, the defendant or key witnesses may be causing a fatal blow to dispensation of justice.

There have been a wide range of speculations as to why nothing has been heard about the department since it came into existence. Does it mean that the department is not being patronized by the public as initially projected? Or could it be that it has no public relations or press unit to disseminate its activities?

This is not tenable in view of the importance of publicity to the survival of any organization in today’s competitive world. Moreover, the poor masses who are almost crushed to death by inadequacies around them ought to welcome this affordable means of justice with open hands.

In fact, grievances galore in person to person daily relationships, with government at all levels and its services. These may include derailed business transactions, harassment by landlords, tenants or security operatives and wife battering.

One had thought that the motive behind the scheme is to defuse at their infantile stages minor civil or criminal matters that may with time mush room into a full blown legal tussle between the parties.

It is now over to the Rescue Mission to rescue one of its creations, the Department of Justice and fair play. The masses are waiting and ought not to be disappointed.