‘NASS Has Done Its Part,’ Senate Committee Backs Financial Autonomy For Judiciary
The National Assembly has done its part by enacting laws to guarantee full autonomy for the judiciary at the Federal Level, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele has said.
Senator Bamidele, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, called on lawmakers in various State Houses of Assembly to pass similar laws to give full autonomy to the judiciary.
He made the remarks on Monday during an interview with reporters at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“For me, as a Nigerian, it is laughable that (at this point) we still need to be grappling with the need to grant judiciary independence at whatever level – either at the federal, state, and local government level; our laws are very clear on this,” Senator Bamidele said.
He added, “For the National Assembly, we have done the needful by making necessary laws that will guarantee the independence of the judiciary at the federal level. So for us, it is not an issue.”
The lawmaker stated that the independence of the judiciary was non-negotiable, adding that it was important for governors to implement full autonomy for the judiciary in their respective states.
His comments were in reaction to the protest at the National Assembly by members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“For the record, the National Assembly does not make laws for the states; every state according to our Constitution has its own State House of Assembly.
“The only time that the National Assembly acts as a State House of Assembly is when it has to do with the Federal Capital Territory to which we are like the State House of Assembly,” the lawmaker said.
Although they were denied entry into the Assembly premises, the lawyers held the protest in solidarity with judiciary workers demanding financial autonomy for the judiciary in various states.
Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) commenced a nationwide industrial action on April 6, leaving courts under lock and key as a result of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.
On Friday last week, the NBA leadership directed its branch chairmen across the country to lead visits to Government Houses in their states over the purported unwillingness of the governors to implement the judiciary’s financial autonomy.
In the statement by NBA President, Olumide Akpata, the branch chairmen were directed to lead the visits, which were more like peaceful protests, on April 19 and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand was met.
The branch leaders were asked “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.