Monday, October 2, 2023

Autonomy for State Judiciary Will Aid Dispensation of Justice – Senate

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…as Justice Adekunle Lawal proposes withdrawal of issues related to family matrimonial matters to be handled under customary Court

By Abdulateef Bamgbose

Senate on Tuesday disclosed that the recent granting of autonomy to the State Judiciary by the Executive Arm of government will aid rapid dispensation of justice in States across the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week assented to 16 bills out of the 35 constitution amendment bills transmitted to the Presidency in January 2023 which include the bill granting financial autonomy to the State Judiciary.

However, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele who disclossed this during the screening and confirmation of the Executive Secretary designate of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, SAN for another term and Hon. Justice Lawal Adekunle Stanley, as President Designate, FCT Customary Court of Appeal.

Bamaidele said that signing of fiscal autonomy for State Judiciary will aid the rapid dispensation of Justice at the state level and it will definitely help in the decongestion of cases being handled at the State level.

He said, ” fiscal autonomy of state Judiciary will have direct impact in operations of Judiciary at the state level. especially in the decongestion of cases waiting for trial”

Speaking on the just concluded elections across the country , Bamidele said ,” Even though myriad of challenges were encountered in the course of the electoral process, we believe that the country will come back stronger than ever before.

“We may not have had perfect elections, however, there is a lot to learn from what transpired that will serve as guardposts to the country in our subsequent elections.”

Speaking on the nomination of Justice Lawal as President of FCT Customary Court of Appeal, he said , ” The appointment of was made by Mr. President, pursuant to Section 266 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, which provides that: “The appointment of a person to the Office of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate”.

“This appointment became necessary following the retirement of Hon. Justice Abbazih Musa Abubakar Saddeeq, after attaining the mandatory retirement age of Sixty five (65) years, as provided in Section 291 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.”

During the screening, Justice Lawal appealed to the Senate to ensure that all issues related to family and matrimonial cases are handled by the Customary Courts instead of High Court .

He said, ” It will be in the interest of the country if the lawmakers can re-assigned some jurisdictions in favour of Customary Courts in order to relieve the High Courts .Most family and matrimonial issues are related to custom and Islamic law.

” I do not see any reason why customary Court are not saddled with matrimonial cases instead of High Court.”

Also speaking while he was been screened by the Senate Panel for another term in office, the Executive Secretary of NHRC said that when he was first appointed, the morale of the staff and human rights awareness were low but with his efforts in the last five years, he has been able to boost the morale of the staff of the Commission and the issues relating to police brutality are being addressed promptly by the Commission.

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