Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta has charged the state Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that workers were promoted on time to avoid piling up promotion arrears.
Oborevwori gave the directive on Monday when the Judges of the State Judiciary, led by the Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Diai visited him at the Government House, Asaba.
He lamented the burden of the promotion arrears inherited by his administration, adding that if the MDAs were prompt at promoting the workers, their benefits and entitlements would have been effected and paid them.
He said that his administration had approved over N600 million monthly at N10,000 per worker to be paid as palliative for three months in the first instance to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on workers.
He said: “On the issue of promotion arrears, I don’t want to hear it again because if workers are promoted as and when due, the issue of promotion arrears will not arise.
“But when you delay and you take about two years and accumulate this money for us to pay, it is not easy for the government.
“When we came in, we heard about the salary arrears which was not caused by this government.
“When people are due for promotion and you don’t promote them at that time, you are causing problem for the government.
“When I asked for the salary arrears, I was told it was N5.5 billion and I said I will pay it in four tranches and we have paid two tranches.
“We will conclude the payment in November. I have promised and I have made the money available.”
He also reiterated the need for the Judiciary to promptly dispense justice, adding that his administration was committed to the realisation of a truly independent and financially autonomous Judiciary.
“When I was the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, we passed the bill for financial autonomy of the Judiciary and that of the request to increase the service years of the Judiciary from 65 to 70 years.
“As a custodian of the executive arm of Government, I am not unaware of the challenges that face the judiciary but I must confess that there have been a strong ally in shaping the future of our dear state and in moving our nation forward.
“I am aware of the various capacity building fora that the leadership of the judiciary has embarked upon in recent times in the collective development of our judiciary.
“As a government founded on morality, equity and justice, we will continue to be supportive of your role in the achievements of a better society for mankind,” Oborevwori said.
He added, “the world is changing very rapidly in this advent of technology and we need judicial officers who are not only technologically savvy, but are also in tune with global best practices of their profession.
“I believe that by the time they work in the new ultra-modern high court complex, when completed and equipped; I am confident that it will boost the moral of staff and enhance their productivity.
“I have released all what is needed by the contractor handling the High Court complex to complete the project.
“I believe that you should also put your own pressure on the contractor to make him move faster and finish the work.
“I sincerely thank all of you for coming as I wish you a successful new legal year.”
Earlier, Justice Diai, said that the judges came to congratulate the governor on his victory at the polls and at the Election Petition Tribunal and to also intimate him on the commencement of the 2023/2024 legal year.
She said that the State Judiciary comprised 37 High Court judges, 15 Revenue Court judges, 103 magistrates and seven Customary Court of Appeal judges among others.
She further disclosed that eight judges were on assignment for election petitions, while thanking the governor for approving overseas training for 15 judges.
The Chief Judge said that automation of revenue collection in all courts in the state had been effected and operational.
She, however, called for the establishment of two more juvenile centres in the state, adding that the only one in the state was established in Sapele in 1951.
Diai said that to speed up trial for criminal charges, all High Courts have been directed to hear criminal cases instead of a select few.
She pledged the cooperation of the judiciary to make the Gov. Oborevwori’s led administration a success.