By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar

Twenty magistrates and some judicial officials are undergoing training by the secretariat of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC,in collaboration with Cross River State judiciary on fast-tracking justice dispensation to litigants seeking to recover debts owed them during business

Cross River State Chief Judge, Justice Akon Ikpeme, revealed this in Calabar yesterday, while answering questions from journalists, shortly after the flag-off of a two-day training session of 20 magistrates and court officials on Tuesday in Calabar.
The CJ informed that the training was a oroduct of a collaboration between
the Cross River State judiciary and PEBEC secretariat, to bring justice to members of the public whose money had been tied down by their business associates.
Ikpeme stressed that the the training will equip the magistrates with knowledge on how to deliver judgement on matters brought to their courts by members of the public and investors approaching small claims court registry at the Chief Magistrates’ Court Complex, Moore Road, Calabar, to recover their debts.
Speaking after rigorous seven-hour brainstorming hour with participants and resource persons via Zoom, Ikpeme asked residents of the state, whose money had been tied down by their business associates during business transactions to feel free to approach the small claims courts for justice.

She said that with the establishment of two Small Claims Courts, SCC, in Cross River State last year, eight matters had been heard in court with judgement delivered, stressing that investors and aggrieved business people would no longer have the need to go to higher courts nor hire a lawyer to recover their money for them, as the small claims courts can now deliver services at no cost.

The CJ said, “Nigeria is evolving and you know we are really in a business interactive era.

The aim of the SCCs is hasten the dispensation of justice, unlike in the regular courts, litigants are slowed down by technicalities.

She said, “The small claims court is about money liquidation. Somebody is owing N5 million, and have the papers to show if we sign agreement.

“In such a case, you don’t even need a lawyer, provided you have genuine papers. Judgement will be dispensed within 60 days.”
Ikpeme maintained that hearing and judgement would be fast tracked in a manner that the bottleneck of undue delay would be removed.

Chairman, Small Claims Court Committee in Cross River State, Justice Elias Abua, charged members of the public and investors to take advantage of this opportunity by approaching the small claims court registry at the Chief Magistrates’ Court Complex, Moore Road, Calabar, to recover debts.

In attendance at the training workshop were Justice Ikpeme, Justice Abua, and two other judges, Justices Victor Offiong and Angela Obi.


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