The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq has come under criticisms following the appointment of Kwarans in the diaspora into his government. A lecturer of law at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Hussein Folorunsho, popularly called Saddam, speaks on the issue and many others in this interview with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI. Excerpts:
What can you say to the complaint of some people that governor ought to have first reviewed welfare package of lower cadre jurists before embarking on courts rehabilitations?
I must appreciate the government of the day particularly the governor for the gesture extended towards the structural renovation of our courts in Kwara State, to be specific, the Area Court, centre ‘Igboro’ and the Sango court that got burnt sometimes last year. These courts are now being renovated; we thank him for that, but there is more to do. Those two courts are equivalent to 2 percent of courts that need to be renovated in Kwara, the renovation exercise should cut across. There are many other courts even outside the state whose conditions are in a bad state. On the issue of welfare package of lower cadre judges, the governor just took over and is trying to stabilize things; the cabinet has not been formed. We don’t have Attorney-General in place; many things would not have been brought to the knowledge of the governor. It is incumbent on us, those of us that interact with judges of the lower court to call the attention of government to things that needs to be done in the judiciary. The government is yet to be fully aware of what is on ground. Welfare of our judges is very important. No Magistrate of Area Court in Kwara, with what they are earning, can afford to buy a car. The lower court judges are the least paid in the whole of Nigeria. If you are appointed a magistrate in Osun State, you will be given 2000 model of Toyota Corolla as official car, not loan, on the day you get letter of appointment. If any of our magistrate or area court judges rides a car, they must have had the support of friends and family members. Government needs to make them comfortable in order to eradicate the allegation of corrupt act against them.
Is it true that the governor is dragging the appointment of members of his cabinet?
The circumstance that brought in this government does not allow it to rush into forming the cabinet. There are various interests that must be taken care of adequately and the governor must be very careful. He must be very careful so that he doesn’t end up surrounding himself with wrong people. We have competent people who can be commissioners, so, no need of inviting Kwarans in the diaspora. Governor was going round to see things himself simply because he did not live here with us. Governor should incorporate good hands among those who have been in the state for long.
Governor has been accused of unduly favouring Kwarans in the Diasporas…?
Yes, he is doing that and I am cautioning him against it. This is my 19th year of practicing law in Kwara, I must be free to enter the office of someone who will be Attorney general. We need someone who will listen to people like us and see reason in whatever we say.
Senator Dino Melaye was sacked and there was a call for fresh poll, how do you see this?
It is a very good development, it was a unanimous decision, I read it. It means the tribunal itself did it job very well, Dino Melaye was a minority there, the majority party is ruling, and for Dino to have defeated the ruling party, it tells us lots of things, let us see what happens when the re-elections take place.
Recently, rape cases has been on alarming increase in Ilorin, what do you think is responsible and how best can it be addressed?
It is so sad and I am confused, I want to believe that there is no fear of God anywhere again. I don’t know what enjoyment anyone wants to get in a girl of 4 years old. We are matured, we have wives at home and we know what it takes to have sex. I have come to believe that some people are using it for rituals because if not for that, why having canal knowledge of minors? I have recommended that once the case is proved against a person, it should be death sentence. If someone rapes minor, to a large extent, the life of such girl has been destroyed. Imagine a baby being raped by an old man, who knows the damage that has been caused on the victim. The punishment for such act should carry death sentence, our National Assembly should deliberate on it. In this town, we had a case of grandfather who allegedly raped a baby wearing pampers. It is that bad.