Press release June 10, 2010, Katsina

UNODC, NJI AND NPC VISIT KATSINA STATE FOR ASSESSMENT OF EU FUNDED PROJECT

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Union (EU), the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and the National Planning Commission (NPC) visited Katsina State on 10th June to assess the progress made in the implementation of the Katsina State Action Plan on Justice Sector Reform 2007-2010.

As one of the ten States benefitting from the 25 Million Euro project funded by the European Union in support of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Judiciary, the Katsina State Judiciary developed an action plan in collaboration with other stakeholders and commenced its implementation with the support of the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The other State judiciaries benefiting from the project are Anambra, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos and Rivers State as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
The action plan which was adopted by the Katsina State Judiciary Integrity Meeting focuses on, enhancing access to justice; improving timeliness and quality of justice delivery; strengthening the integrity, accountability, transparency, independence and impartiality of the court system and coordination across the justice sector.

During the mission, the monitoring team had discussions with the Governor of Katsina State who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Katsina State His Excellency, Alhaji Surajo Umar Damari. The Team also met with the implementation committee as well as a team of journalists. While addressing the Deputy Governor, the Senior Project Coordinator Dr. Oliver Stolpe congratulated the Katsina State Judiciary, under the leadership of Honorable Justice S.A Mahuta, OFR, the Chief Judge of Katsina State. He stated that in a 2007 assessment carried out on the justice sector, Katsina State had recorded 88% in timeliness of justice delivery as against the National average performance. In effect court users in Katsina experience less delay than in other states.

Dr. Stolpe called on the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive to make provisions for and support the development and implementation of a new action plan in 2011. He suggested that action planning for justice sector reform should become a permanent feature of the state's annual budget and could serve as a model for other public sector agencies both within and beyond Katsina State.

The Deputy Governor in turn welcomed the monitoring team on behalf of the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Barrister Ibrahim Shema and the people of Katsina State. He stated that the project has had a tremendous impact on the independence and capacity of the Katsina State judiciary. He assured the team that "the government of Katsina State would continue to make budgetary appropriations in funding the Katsina State judiciary to enable it perform its responsibilities of adjudication".