Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has said his administration would start to take tougher actions with perpetrators of sexual assault in a bold move to improve morals in the area.
He has also lauded the Nigerian Judiciary for the role it played in consolidating democratic ideals in the country.
Emmanuel made the commendation while declaring open a- three day Conference of the Network of Justice Sector Reform Team in Uyo yesterday.
The Governor said that with the establishment of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre at Immanuel Hospital Eket victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault would be given the confidence to live a stigma free life.
He commended the state judiciary for setting up the centre and commended the team of Professionals , Police , Ministry of Women Affairs, Health and pledged to partner the sector to achieve its mandate.
The Governor said the judiciary as the third arm of government has adhered to the principle of separation of power and commended the Supreme Court for the courage in dispensing justice in its temple without fear or favour.
He lauded the vision and collaborative work the Team has done to speed up of delivery of justice in the country and devotion to addressing critical issues that delay the dispensation of justice with a view to fashion out solution and create a template that can fit similar cases across board.
Emmanuel however called on the Team to look into prison decongestion to reduce the high proportion of awaiting trial cases and access to Pro – Bono Legal Representation for accused persons who could not afford the services of a lawyer.
He expressed delight at the Justice Reform Sector in the state headed by the State Chief Judge, Justice Stephen Okon, for recording significant success particularly in the area of free Legal Services, Establishment of Family Courts as well as Multi Door Court Houses.
He expressed hope that the Conference would come out with blue prints to facilitate justice delivery.
The Chairman Justice Sector Reform team and Solicitor General of the Federation , Mr Taiwo Abidogun said that the network is focused on justice delivery system and the Rule of Law stressing that collaborative efforts from the stakeholders is intended to enable participants compare notes and evolve a way forward for the judiciary.
Earlier the State Chief Judge, Justice Stephen Okon said that the Justice Reform Sector which was established in 2014 has made significant progress in justice delivery and announced plans to train Police in the state command and specialized prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice and Women Affairs and to equip the Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Uyo and Ikot Ekpene senatorial districts.