UN Agency Pledges Support To Osun

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday reiterated its commitment to assisting  the Osun government to develop  a  strategic approach which would  ensure  effective justice delivery.

The Deputy Coordinator of   UNDOC,  Mr  Edwin Berry, said this in Osogbo  during the opening ceremony of a three-day  workshop on justice sector reform.

Berry said the workshop was organised by UNODC in conjunction with the European Union  as a necessary means of enhancing good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

He said the workshop was also aimed at effective coordination and cooperation among justice sector institutions with an enhanced legal and policy frame work.

Berry, who noted that UNDOC was the United Nation agency entrusted with the mandate to assist member states tackle  corruption, illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

“As part of the  mandate , UNDOC provides technical assistance in the area of justice sector reform globally, including several years in Nigeria, and has built up a knowledge base of successful practices in these areas,’’ he said.

Berry said Osun  was particularly important in the area of judicial reform,  adding that  it had set a national example in being the only state that already had a reform plan developed by the government.

He said the development of  an  action plan was timely, especially in terms of linking with activities from the reform plan, particularly those concerning  protection of the rights  of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Earlier in his remarks, the state’s  Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo, said the workshop was necessary as a means of occasional review of strategy  as well as internal and external assessment of personnel and tools available to the judiciary for optimum service delivery.

Represented by Justice Jide Falola, Ojo said the workshop would  also expose participants to modern techniques  in order to sharpen their skills  and  motivate them to perform effectively.

He, however, said it was rather unfortunate that the judiciary was the most poorly  funded of the three arms of government nationwide.

While commending  the Osun government  for  providing  a conducive atmosphere for the judiciary, Ojo  lauded  UNDOC for making the state one of its seven focal states in the country.

Mr Wale Afolabi, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,  said government was passionate about  reforming the criminal justice system in the state.

Afolabi  said government was also improving  on the speedy acceleration of  justice as well as improve the welfare package  for judges and magistrates in the state.

Mr Ibrahim Lawal, the Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola on Legal Matters, said progress was being made in the justice delivery system.