Ugwuanyi appoints ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, others to Reform Committees, as FCT Chief Judge lauds governor on Criminal Justice Act

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Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has appointed former Super Eagles Captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, and former Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr Emeka Mbah, as members of the last batch of the sectoral ad-hoc committees to review various sectors of the state government and design roadmaps for optimised service delivery and advancement of good governance in the state.

The Governor recently inaugurated the first batch of seven ad-hoc committees in the sectors of education; health; public service reform; security; justice; water and chieftaincy/ community matters.

Inaugurating the remaining five sectoral committees, namely agriculture and rural development; finance, review of Internally Generated Revenue and international development partners’ funding; lands, housing and transport; sustainable environmental and urban management; and youths and sports development, Ugwuanyi listed ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha as the technical adviser of youths and sports committee and Mr. Mbah as the Chairman.

Presenting the committees’ terms of reference, the governor, expressed the desire of his administration to perform better in its IGR growth and other economic indices to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the State.

He said that the finance committee shall assist in designing “a roadmap to further boost positive returns on our assets, increase our IGR and optimize outcomes of development partner support”.
The governor who said that “the economic viability of states in Nigeria is benchmarked on the parity between their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and their share of federal account allocations”, explained that the strategy was also in keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s call on governors to prioritize their IGR drive for the wellbeing of their people,
According to him, “although Enugu State is currently ranked as the 7th most economically viable state in Nigeria, we seek to perform better for the sake of improving the lives of our people and fulfilling our electoral promises”.

On agriculture and rural development, Ugwuanyi noted that Enugu is predominantly a rural and agrarian state, with a substantial proportion of its working population engaged in farming, disclosed that the committee, is expected to design a workable roadmap to boost farming/agro-allied businesses in the state to generate mass employment and proffer a sustainable strategy to boost orderly and integrated development of the rural areas.

He described the youth as engine of economic growth, pointing out that Enugu State has sports talents who have won laurels within and outside the shores of the country, stressing that programmes and sponsorship are required to continue discovering and developing these youthful talents.

“The committee on youths and sports development will proffer strategies for achieving this, and for engaging the youth in sports development, character building, entrepreneurship, skills acquisition and participation in good governance”, he added.

Emphasizing the need to articulate a sustainable environmental management strategy that will deploy different initiatives to address various ecological issues affecting the state and forestall ecological disasters and environmental crisis, Ugwuanyi disclosed that the committee on the sector “is expected to dutifully look at the totality of our interaction with terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environment for sustainable development, having due regard to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem balance”.

The committee on lands, housing and transport is expected to undertake a situation analysis of Enugu State’s potentials and enviable status as one of the safest states in Nigeria to live in, ranking second in Ease of Doing Business and third in Ease of Starting Business, that has witnessed a growing demand for land, housing and transport.

“To meet these demands, we intend to improve our land administration and management, boost orderly housing development and establish a modern intra-state transport system”, he said .

The governor expressed confidence that the committee members will deploy their wealth of experience, expertise and commitment to add value to the governance of Enugu State.

Responding on behalf of other members, the chairman of sustainable environmental and urban management sector, Prof. Smart Uchegbu, thanked governor Ugwuanyi for assembling “the cream of professionals” to carry out the all important assignment.

He expressed delight at the pioneering innovation adopted by Ugwuanyi to improve service delivery and good governance in Enugu State, saying: “I am really overwhelmed that for the first time, we see a dynamic governor joyfully assembling a cream of professionals to work with him, to assist him achieve more of what he has already achieved”.

He commended the numerous achievements of the governor towards the rapid development of the state, adding that he was proud that “Enugu State is number one state in the area of security and one of the cleanest and most beautiful states in Nigeria” and firmly in the hands of God.
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, Abuja, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello, has commended Ugwuanyi for facilitating the adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the state.

Justice Bello gave the commendation when he led members of the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion on a courtesy visit on Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu.

He described the adoption of the criminal justice administration act in Enugu State as “revolutionary”.
The FCT Chief Judge told governor Ugwuanyi that the committee was in Enugu in exercise of its “sole mandate of visiting Nigerian Prisons to release inmates who have option of fines associated to their various sentences and also to review cases of inmates that have stayed over five years awaiting trials before various courts”.

According to him, “in a situation where they have overstayed the period of sentences they were convicted, we take instant decisions to let them go”.

The jurist, who advocated a uniform criminal justice regime act to be adopted by the respective component states “without affecting the very substance intendment of the act”, said Gov. Ugwuanyi deserves to be congratulated for the adoption of the act in Enugu State.

“Your Excellency, you deserve to be congratulated for that. We are very happy that you have made it possible; that you are among the states that have adopted the act. Many others are following suit because it is in that act that you find the road that will expedite delivery, eliminate delays, among others”, he said.

Earlier, the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Emehelu, told Ugwuanyi that the delegation deemed it necessary to pay him a courtesy visit before embarking on the assignment because of his interest and commitment in ensuring that justice is done to people who are kept away in prisons unlawfully.

Responding, Ugwuanyi said that “our administration appreciates the efforts of the Federal Government in fast-tracking the decongestion of prisons in the country”.

The governor disclosed that his administration has in many ways supported the rehabilitation of prison infrastructure in the state, to improve the environment and has assisted in the payment of fees to lawyers to represent inmates who could not afford legal representation, assuring the presidential committee of the state’s firm support to their noble assignment.

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