By Our Reporter
A whopping 212,266 cases are pending in the Imo State judiciary, consisting of the High Court, the Customary Court of Appeal, Magistrate Court and Customary Court. The cases include Civil, Criminal and Miscellaneous lawsuits.
The Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon Justice P.O. Nnadi disclosed this in his speech at the opening of 2016/2017 Legal Year ceremony recently.
A total of 116,898 cases were pending at the High Courts as at September 30, 2016; 78,581 were pending at the Magistrate Courts, 710 at the Customary Court of Appeal and 16,077 cases at the Customary courts.
Statistically, when the number of cases pending at the High Courts (116,898) is divided by the 18 High Court Judges, the ratio is approximately 6,494 cases per judge. At the magistrate courts (78,581), the ratio is 1,309 cases per magistrate. For the Customary Court of Appeal, the two panels will have a case ratio of 355 per panel while the Customary Courts have an average of 365 cases per court.
A total of 23,192 cases were filed at the High Court from October 2015 to September 2016 out of which only 853 cases were disposed within the period. 18,655 cases were filed and 2,190 disposed in the Magistrate Courts.
The Chief Judge, Hon. Nnadi disclosed that the Judges and Magistrates have been unduly stretched to their maximum in the performance of their duties.
“The above analysis paints a very sorry and pitiable picture of the case load in all the courts in Imo State and there is now urgent need to appoint more judges, magistrates and chairmen and members of Customary Courts for Imo State Judiciary so as to lessen the neck breaking work load of our judicial officers and avoid total breakdown and collapse of administration of justice in Imo State”, said the Chief Judge.