Having received the recommendations arising from discoveries by Kogi High Court’s Council of Judges’ subcommittee on Repositioning and Supervising the Directorate of Personnel Management of the Court, the Acting Chief Judge of Kogi State, Hon. Justice Josiah Joe Majebi has pledged to implement the recommendations of the committee without delay.
According to the recommendation, the employment of staff recruited into the judiciary through an abnormal process should be terminated, Daily Post reports.
Members of the committee, who were received by the Acting Chief Judge in his office at the High Court of Justice headquarters in Lokoja, stated in their report that names of some persons on the payroll of the High Court were not found on the court’s nominal roll (register).
The committee stated that the numbers of employed staff within the period of January 2021 to June 2022, falls within the period of its terms of reference.
“After a careful check of the names of newly employed staff from January 2021 to June 2022, the staff disposition list and payroll, it was discovered that some of the names on the payroll could not be found on the staff disposition list of the courts and other departments.
“Therefore, it is an indication that though their names are on the payroll but they do not have duty stations and do not work anywhere in the Inspectorate offices,” the committee said in its interim report.
The committee, which has Hon. Justice Muhammed Etsu Umar as its Chairman, while submitting its report, recommended that immediate and urgent action be taken to correct the anomaly of having some staff in the payroll without duty stations.
“It is our recommendation that it is an abnormality for a staff to be on payroll without duty station. Such situation should be immediately corrected by termination of employment of such persons affected,” it said.
It also went further to recommend that “henceforth, employment (by the institution) should be highly regulated to the needs of the judiciary establishment and based on budgetary provisions and availability of vacancies.”
The four-man committee, which also comprised a Deputy Director in the Directorate, Mr. Paul B. Egwu, as member, also has the Acting DPM/DCR of the High Court, Ezema A. Beatrice Esq., as its Secretary.
According to the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Justice Umar, who had earlier appreciated the Chief Judge for deploying his experience in carving out a vision that will strengthen and restore the integrity of the judiciary, he said as supervisors of the Directorate of Personnel Management, the committee ensured that they aligned with the CJ’s vision and in doing that a lot of things were unraveled.
He said since their focus was from January 2021 to June 2022, they relied upon the report of the Committee on Staff Verification of the High Court of Justice submitted in December, 2020, to appraise the entire workforce of the High Court shortly after the unfortunate demise of the late Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Nasiru Ajanah, which “changed everything in the system”.
He said subsequent administrations, not minding the finances of the judiciary, threw the organization into what led to agitations for implementation of promotions and minimum wage by judiciary workers.
He said the committee realized that the agitations were not unconnected with the “astronomical rise” in the High Court workforce within this period and decided to be rightly guided.
“If doing the right thing has any negative effect on some individuals, such action cannot be faulted so long as the decision and action is beneficial to the system and it is sustainable for both the staff of the organization and the overall administration of justice itself.
“We looked at the objectives of the committee which was to meet and achieve a better standard for all employee’s services under the High Court of Justice. To determine the number of newly employed staff from January 2021 to June 2022 and to examine the list of staff from January 2021 to June 2022 on the staff disposition list of the nine Inspectorate Zones of Kogi State vis-à-vis those on the pay roll.
“We discovered that we have about 40% increase of seven hundred and six (706) staff within the period under review. With the discovery of this astronomical rise in our number of staff within this period, we decided to examine the rise by juxtaposing it with the finances and infrastructure of the judiciary, with a view to its sustainability and there were names found on the payroll but not found in the staff register.
“This contains thirteen names, which when added to the 255 gives us 268 non-existing staff on the payroll but are not traceable to any duty station,” he stated.
While appreciating the committee members for a job well done, the Chief Judge, Justice Majebi said the committee’s assignment continues as it was a permanent committee which would be functional throughout his tenure in office as the Chief Judge of the State.
Commending the State’s Judges on their new supervisory roles over Directorates of the High Court, Justice Majebi noted that the High Court of Justice of Kogi State was defined in the past by the quality of her Judges who are blessed with wisdom, knowledge, competence, calmness and discipline.