Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of Court of Appeal on Wednesday inaugurated the Awka Division of the court in Anambra.
Bulkachuwa said the inauguration was a demonstration of faith in that arm of the court and crucial in the development of the nation’s judicial system.
She however, said that though the number of divisions of the court had increased over the years, the budget for it had either been static or declining.
The Court of Appeal president said the poor funding of Court had hampered its ability to dispense with cases as the court of appellate arbitration.
She lauded the Anambra government for seeing to the successful completion of the project while assuring that people who came to the court would go back satisfied that justice had not been done but been manifestly seen to have been done.
“The opening of this court is a milestone in this country for the Court of Appeal in particular and the Judiciary in general, it is an epoch making event which should gladden the heart of everybody.
“The current trend in the justice management system is anchored on probity, accountability, ethic, good dispensation of justice and bringing justice closer to the people, but bringing it close to the people has posed a great challenge to the entire judiciary.
“For instance, the court has been growing in number from three in 1976 to five in 1977, to 10 in 1999 and 16 divisions in 2011 but it might surprise you that while the number was increasing, the budget envelope is withering, static or decreasing.
“It is our expectation that this situation will improve to increase judicial service delivery in the country.
She expressed hope and prayer that after the commissioning, it would be possible for people to operate under a peaceful and conducive atmosphere to do their duties to all and sundry without fear or favour ,” she said.
In his speech, Gov. Willie Obiano described the Court of Appeal in Anambra as a child of necessity.
He said he was happy to have the 18th division of the Court of Appeal inaugurated in Anambra during his time.
Obiano said a large expanse of land had been earmarked for the construction of permanent projects of the court in the state.
He said lawyers from the state would no longer travel to Enugu for appellate determination of their matters.
In his welcome address, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, Acting Chief Judge of Anambra said the establishment of the Court of Appeal in the state was long overdue.
Anyachebelu said statistics showed that 60 per cent of cases in Enugu division of the Court emanated from Anambra.
He thanked the Court of Appeal for empanelling a team of three judges to kick start the Awka division but pointed out that with the number of cases being churned out in Anambra, two panels of five judges would be adequate to treat them.
He commended Obiano for giving judiciary a pride of place in his government and his respect for the rule of law while pledging a robust relationship with judges of the Court of Appeal.
According to him, “the governor does not interfere in the duties of our judges.”
Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu, the first Presiding Judge of the Awka division of the court promised that the court would be above board and ensure that justice was done to all who came to it.