Imo Leads the Way: Streamlining Small Claims with New Judicial Committee.
The Imo State Government in collaboration with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) on Tuesday inaugurated the Small Claims Court Judicial Committee.
Inaugurating the Committee at the State High Court pavilion, Owerri, the Governor Hope Uzodimma, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, said the Imo State Government was conscious of the fact that the small claims court has come to stay.
Uzodimma, who also noted that there is a need for the initiative, described it as a good decision, saying, cases are made simple.
He said, “We will ensure that people that are sent to this Court and see to it that it remains sensitive to their plights.”
He expressed optimism that there would be competent men on the bench who will make sure judgements are given in due time.
Delivering her keynote address at the inauguration, the Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon. Justice Theresa Chikeka, described the event as a landmark in the annals of the Imo State Judiciary.
“It is a well-known fact that the conventional method of justice delivery system is cumbersome, time-consuming and sometimes frustrating,” she submitted.
According to her, the objective of the Small Claim Procedure is to provide easy access to an informal, inexpensive, and prompt resolution of simple debt and money-liquidated demands.
She disclosed that the state has joined forces with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
In his goodwill message, the Imo State Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Barr. Demian Alinnor, said the event showcases the importance of the Small Claims Court in the quick and smooth justice delivery system in the state.
He described the Small Claims Court as specially designed to provide judicial determination of disputes involving small amounts of money.
“The court provides an accessible, inexpensive, speedy forum for dispute resolution of small monetary claims, which can be heard with or without legal representation,” he stated.
He expressed conviction that when fully functional, the Small Claims Court will make it easier for citizens, especially the indigent persons, who have monetary disputes, to easily get solutions without having to go through the rigorous, financially draining litigation process of debt recovery.
Speaking, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Imo State, Barr. Akaolisa, thanked Governor Hope Uzodimma for the good things he is doing in the Judiciary; he, therefore, prayed to God to bless him.
Speaking, the Imo State Judicial Committee Chairman on Small Claims Court, Hon. Justice Benjamin Iheka, said the initiative was a new development intended to promote business activities and encourage entrepreneurial and investment initiatives.
“Small Claims Court is a bold step towards providing solutions to minor financial claims arising from both formal and informal contractual obligations,” he said.
The Imo State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Hon. Dominic Ezerioha, commended the state government for the initiative of establishing the Small Claims Court.
The inauguration ceremony had in attendance, political appointees in the state and other dignitaries, among whom is the Deputy Governor-elect, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru.