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Why I Agreed To Work With Okowa --- Barr Mrakpor

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Peter Mrakpor has divulged reasons he accepted to work with the state governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa.

Mrakpor said the visions, plans, programmes and agenda of the state governor aligned with his, hence he accepted to work with him, “our dream is a Delta State where we all can prosper, which is the key thing in this administration. A Delta State where people will prosper”.

The Commissioner gave the revelation Thursday when the executives and members of the Indigenous Newspapers and Magazines Chapel (INMC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council paid him a courtesy call in his office.

According to the Commissioner, the Okowa-led administration is geared towards the prosperity of all Deltans, “not just some people prospering but a place where everybody has hope for better tomorrow. That is the Delta State of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa’s dream and that is one of the reasons I agreed to work as Attorney-General, that is his dream and it is also in line with the vision I had as a person”.

He said a society where we can live in peace and have reasonable measure of security, our children can go to school and have a future.

He posited that the Indigenous Newspapers and Magazines Chapel could be described as next to ‘gossip’, “Your newspapers are what people read to get information. Those newspapers are the ones people buy more and they debate more about their content, that is why I said they are next to gossip”.

“Of recent, His Excellency has even directed the Commissioner for Information to relate more with members of this group because if government is working and the common man is not aware of it, it is not good for everybody”, stressing that society moves forward when people key into visions and policies of government by bringing in the grass root support.

On the activities of his ministry, the Commissioner said it is efficient and effective justice delivery, “that is our vision in this ministry”, pointing out that in the next few weeks, the public would testify to what the ministry was doing in the criminal justice sector.

“It is something that has never been done before in this country, the reforms we are proposing, we want to cut down trial time drastically, no state has ever done it but we believe it will work and we are running with it and the state house of assembly is with us, everybody is with us”, disclosing that very soon, the ministry would go into proper prison decongestion and pick up all case files for the ministry’s lawyers to justify why the ministry should continue with such cases.

“We discover that there are some cases in court that are dead. The lawyer is just going to court to give oxygen by appearing. There are some, witnesses can never be found, there are some IPO dead, accused persons have jumped bail and that they are just showing up in court. Three years, four years nothing is happening. In my opinion, that case should terminate, it shouldn’t continue. We don’t waste money on things that are not necessary, if you can’t secure conviction, why are you going to court? He asked.

He said the ministry embarked on the review of all case files following the event of influential persons that have in time past sent people to prisons, “we have done Asaba, Ogwashi-Uku, Issele-Uku, Akuku-Igbo and so we are moving on. We are looking at every case file. It is tedious but we will do it. We are scrutinizing those in prison to be sure that they ought to be in prison. If they have no business in prison, we move them out. Then to enhance prosecution”, noting that the ministry has also given out a lot of fiats to private lawyers to take over prosecution from the police, in some cases to avoid the alleged outcry of compromise of cases by the police, “I have given out about 50 or 100 now”.

Earlier in his remarks, chairman of the chapel, Comrade Spence Friday Idighri said the visit to the Commissioner was birth due to his resounding achievements in a recessed economy while noting that there are rooms for improvement.

“It is only proper that we do this not only to encourage a performing commissioner to do more but to also wake up those who are in perpetual slumber since their appointment almost two years ago”.

High point of the visit was a presentation of an award in the recognition of justice delivery in Delta State.