The Committee on National Judiciary of the House of Representatives, has decried the conditions under which judges and judicial workers in the nations’ judicial system operate as deplorable and unacceptable promising to ensure that the situation is change for the better.
The Chairman House Committee on Federal Judiciary, Honourable Aminu Shagari stated this today when the committee visit the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court as part of their oversight function
Shagari, who described the state of the court as unacceptable said, the Committee will ensure that the working environment both for judges and lawyer are made to be conducive.
According to Shagari, “What we have seen is unbecoming and it is unacceptable for a judge to be working in a cubicle, there is no wardrobe for them to change, no place for them to keep their books and files. Our visit here today will help us to understand what is going on in making appropriation for these projects so that it can be quickly completed and both lawyers and judges will be more comfortable and justice can be dispense with as soon as possible that is why we are here”.
The committee chairman also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appropriating the sum of N100 billion for the judiciary in the 2018 budget, which he said has been the main reason why judiciary has not been functioning optimally in the past.
“If you have been following the trend in the judiciary, budgets have been going down over the years while the federal budgets is going up every years, but luckily for us this present administration has appropriated N100 billion for this 2018 budget and also proposed this budget to the approval of National Assembly. It is getting better, but we are still not where we ought to be, the infrastructure needed is huge, a lot of funding needs to be given to the judiciary. But the good thing is that any amount given to the judiciary as budget is normally given hundred percent, so whatever is appropriated to them is given to them fully, unlike other sectors I don’t want to mention”
Honourable Shagari, who led members of his Committee to Judges’ residential quarters and the the new court rooms under construction,commended Federal High Court for putting the edifice.
He said, when the new courtroom is complete, it will aid quick dispensation of cases.
“We have visited the residential quarters of the judges, and we are visiting the courts where they are working, we have seen the edifice being built for them, the 20 courtrooms going on at Ikoyi. The court being built at ikoyi is a very nice project, there is parking space on the ground floor for judges and lawyers and subsequent floors are courtroom. It is a very beautiful project”, Shagari stated.
Honourable Shagari, who described the judiciary as an independent organ of government, said the recent sitting of the Committee on Judiciary Reform Bill will make judiciary to work as it supposed to be, adding that the Bill have been passed to the States Assemblies for concurrent passage.
He however stated that the State Assemblies cannot be compelled to pass the Bill, but it can only persuade them to do so.
“The judiciary is independent, we just sat on Constitution amended and we have passed it to state assemblies for concurrent passage.In there, there is what is referred to as Judiciary Reform Bill which contained about 44 Clauses, which aimed at strengthening the judiciary and making them more functional to dispense justice as it should be.The House of Representative cannot do anything to the state who refused to make that working in their states. We can only advocates that they vote for such Clauses so that each state will pass the law according to their own understanding”.