The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has vowed to sign the death warrant for anyone condemned by the courts for kidnapping in the state.
According to a statement by his media aide, Makut Macham, Mr Lalong stated this on Friday at the swearing-in of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal and five judges of the State High Court and Customary Court of Appeal at Government House, Rayfield in Jos.
At the event witnessed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensem, Mr Lalong described as worrisome the wave of kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state.
He frowned at the situation whereby kidnap suspects are not promptly prosecuted or released without charge.
“This situation perhaps emboldens the continuous onslaught on the citizens by kidnappers. While we are addressing the issue with the police relating to arrest, investigation and prosecution, I want to appeal to our Judges to be very firm in trying such cases when brought before them as kidnapping is fast becoming an industry with no one immune from the menace.
“As governor, I have promised to sign the death warrant in respect of anyone convicted of kidnapping which is giving our people sleepless nights, driving away prospective investors and further impoverishing our people.
“Many of them are forced to pay ransoms to secure the release of loved ones, which is making people afraid to pursue their legitimate businesses, including farming,” Mr Lalong said.
The governor charged the new judges to be faithful to their oath of office and consider their appointments as a call to serve God and humanity, which should make them work faithfully and diligently.
“I advise you to be mindful of the attempts to compromise your integrity and impartiality by people who will approach you with tempting proposals of all sorts. As those who have the rare privilege to determine the fate of people that appear before you, be careful not to abuse this precious trust. In as much as you have this privilege, you should also realise that you are not above reproach and can be held responsible for your actions by both man and God.
“Therefore, I advise you to strive to write your name in gold by abiding to the ethos of your professional calling at all times during your career,” he said.
Mr Lalong debunked an insinuation that his administration was not paying attention to the judiciary.
He said his government has done much for the judicial arm since he came into office, despite the paucity of funds.
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