APPOINTMENT OF ORITSERENOJO SILVERLINE T. JOHN, A STAFF OF THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, WARRI, AS JUSTICE OF THE PEACE (JP) FOR DELTA STATE, THURSDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER, 2018 AT ASABA
1. Historical Background of Justice of the Peace (JP)
The origin of JPs has been traced back to England in 1195 when Richard the lion heart commissioned some knights to preserve the peace in unruly areas. They were responsible to the king for ensuring that the law was upheld and they were known as custodespacis (keepers of the peace). The custodespacis were the forefathers of JPs.
During the early 1320s, keepers of the peace were appointed in each county and by the 1340s these keepers had authority to hear and determine trespasses and punish offenders. The title of the peace derives from 1361 during the reign of Edward III, making the office one of the oldest in the common law system. Over time, JPs in Britain were authorized to perform functions ranging from hearing and determining offences to licensing public houses – source (Delta State Ministry of Justice, Justice of Peace handbook published by the Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Delta State Ministry of Justice, Asaba).
2. Functions of Justice of the Peace (JP)
Functions of the Justice of the Peace:
a. Power to preserve the peace
b. Power to suppress riots and affrays
c. To disperse all disorderly and tumultuous assemblies
d. To call in aid and assistance for the purpose of achieving (a – c above) any person and such a person shall be bound to obey
e. Power to direct post-mortem examinations under Section 12 of the coroners law
f. All the powers, rights and duties of a magistrate under the magistrate court law 2008
g. Issue summons and warrants for the purpose of compelling the attendance
h. Issue writes of summons and witness summons in civil causes
i. Admit to bail persons who are accused but not convicted of a crime
j. Issue search warrants
k. Take solemn affirmations and statutory declarations
3. Making of a Justice of the Peace (JP)
It is against these backdrops that His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, in pursuance of section 12 of Magistrate Court law 2008 of Delta State 2006 approved the shortlisted 248 names of unquestionable characters for appointment as Justices of the Peace in the Delta State after careful scrutiny of the awardees by the State Security Service (SSS), the names were published in the Pointer Newspaper of September 13th, 2018 at page 4, the name of Oritserenojo Silverline appeared in s/n 129 as one of the recipients upon the approval by His Excellency, Governor Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa. The awardees were sworn in as Justices of the Peace by the Chief Judge of Delta State, Hon. Justice Marshal Umukoro on Thursday 20th September, 2018 at David’s Event Centre, beside Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency Office, Government House Road, Asaba. Thus, began the journey of Oritserenojo Silverline as a Justice of the Peace (JP) in Delta State.
The highlights of the swearing-in ceremony began at 7:30pm with accreditation and collection of JP paraphernalia. This was followed by an inaugural/orientation lectures to abreast the awardees in readiness of the duties, privileges, powers and limitation of the role of a JP.
During the lectures, the recipients were given the opportunity to ask questions and they got clarification from the guest lecturer, Mr. Orasosor, a Director in the Ministry of Justice. The criteria for selection of the awardees were greatly highlighted during the lectures to include among others:
i. A trusted and careful personality
ii. A person who takes interest in people and humanity
iii.Demonstrated good judgment in the face of real or perceived conflict of interest
iv. Proven ability and experience in making sound, practical and timely decisions with complex factors
v. Proven reputation for punctuality, reliability, organization skills and preparedness
vi. Ability to merge people and time (ibid, page 12 (4.0)).
4. Eligibility Requirements
-Be between 35-70 years of age; however a person who is outside of this age group may be appointed in exceptional circumstances;
-Be a Nigerian;
-Be of good character;
-Is of unquestionable integrity and commands the respect and confidence of his local community;
-Has given good service to the community and the State and demonstrate the potential for continuing to so serve;
-Does not have a criminal record;
-Ability to understand the functions of a Justice of Peace;
-Be proficient in speaking, reading and writing in English language;
-Provide two written references from persons who can vouch of the candidate’s character.
Section 11 and 12 of the Magistrate Court Law 2008 gives the Governor and Chief Judge of the state powers to revoke and/or remove appointees either under section 11 and 12 of the law (Ibid, page 10 3.4).
It is consequent upon the above mentioned attributes that the Governor of Delta State in his wisdom deemed it fit to award Comrade Oritserenojo Silverline T. John a Justice of the Peace (JP).
Without exaggeration, it is worthy to say that at about 1:04pm, the Lord, the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshall Umukoro, started the opening ceremony with the national anthem and then the opening prayer. The Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, Esq. (FICMC) gave his welcome address to the admiration of all. Thereafter, the appointees took the judicial oath of office and were then sworn in by the Chief Judge of Delta State, Hon. Justice Marshall Umukoro with a powerful handshake to congratulate the recipients. The awardees took photographs with the Chief Judge.
After the ceremony, there was group photographs, after which the appointees went home in joy for a dream come true in the history of their life and charged to be good Ambassadors of the State.
No doubt, this award is a recognition of Comrade Oritserenojo Silverline T. John’s contributions to humanity and to the benefits of mankind. Even though the ceremony has come and gone, the memories of the event will linger on for years to come in the minds of the appointees and those who witnessed the ceremony.
Congratulations, you make the College of Education, Warri proud. More grease to your elbow.