By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
Kaduna State Judiciary is ready, able and willing to stand for the rights of the citizens of Kaduna State and provide access to justice without fear or favour.
The Chief Judge of Kaduna State, Justice Mohammed Bello made the statement at Open Forum on Social Protection Policy Development by Kaduna State in his presentation, on role of Judiciary in Social Protection especially as it borders on citizens right and access to justice on Wednesday.
He said, the National Social Protection Policy provides a framework for promoting social justice, equity and inclusive productive growth.
The chief who was represented at the event by Chief Magistrate Hauwa Shehu said it is a transformative tool for addressing poverty, unemployment, social and economic vulnerabilities, inequality, exclusion and other threats to sustainable development.
“I am here primarily as the head of the State Judiciary and a stakeholder in this policy and the accompanying programmes. Social Protection is multi sectoral and a multi disciplinary approach that contributes to reducing poverty and working to achieve sustainable development.
According to him, the policy will harness available resources into investments in people our most valuableasset, in order to optimise our human capital potentials.
“Kaduna State Judiciary is ready, able and willing to stand for the rights of the citizens of Kaduna State and provide access to justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will which is the oath every judicial officer in Kaduna State took”.
According to him, citizens look up to the judiciary to uphold their rights and governments look up to the courts to interprete laws.
He further noted that, judicial system is a key aspect of democratic way of life, upholding peace, order and good governance.
“The judicial system is one of the three branches of government under the doctrine of separation of powers. The court system, in most cases, protects individuals from undue persecutions or prosecutions.
“The policy also emphasizes the direct application of international agreements ratified by Nigeria.
“For the purpose of this policy, social protection is defined as, “A mix of policies and programmes designed for individuals and households throughout the life cycle to prevent and reduce poverty and socioeconomic shocks by promoting and enhancing livelihoods and a life of dignity.
“Humans being what we are, their is the likelihood of abuse of these noble plans. Abúse could be by the service providers, the recipients or others.
“Here again the role of the judiciary comes in as a stakeholder,” he explained.
According to him, an interesting feature of the draft policy is to provide health service, psychosocial support and counseling to survivors of violence against persons, child labour, child abuse, child rape and human trafficking.
He commended the governor for being proactive with the provision of the sexual assault referral centre, the citizens rights desk at the ministry of justice and their ADR centre.
“The Kaduna State judiciary has a fully functional multi door court house known as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (ADR) with manpower drawn from the magistrate, customary and sharia courts,” he added.
He noted that, with the full implementation of the social protection policy, the ADR centre and its sister the citizens rights desk will be in their full elements.
“The policy demands that the state establishes targeting schemes and canvassing mechanisms to find the intended beneficiaries for the programmes.”
He noted that, it is the duty of government to provide adequate welfare for its citizens.
He further stated that, Kaduna Social Protection Policy is interested in humanity, equity, justice and the development of the state.
“The draftsmen of the policy have made provisions for regulation and disputeresolution.
“The implementing MDAS shall have in place internal mechanism to handle all matters relating to complaints, disputes, fraud, fraudulent practices.
“While other issues outside their jurisdiction should be referred to the appropriate judicial and law enforcement institutions,” he pointed out.
On her part, Commissioner Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, said Kaduna State Government which is the govt of putting people first has directed her ministry to develop a robust policy document and social protection order.
She noted that, no state in Nigeria has given social protection this much strategic approach.
“We might also be seen to be taking time in passing our social policies in Kaduna State, but we assure the world of passing and implementing the smartest social policy in the state,” she added.
She expressed confidence that the state has enough resources to give Kaduna the most efficient social policy.
“Policy options before us are enormous. I am glad we have chosen that which suits the dynamism of our people,” she said, while calling on members of the committee to give meaningful contributions by providing realistic social policy.
“Social Protection Policy can help to reduce poverty, improve lives and promote inclusion of the vulnerable.
“The State Steering Committee on Social Investment is charge with the responsibility of drafting a Social Protection Policy for the government to drive the realization of the foregoing vision, while the Kaduna State Government is set to have in place a well-structured integrated social protection system that can reach the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the state in the most sustainable transformative ways.
“The engagement was carried out with selected govt and non govt actors,” she stressed.
Source: New Nigerian