The member representing Etinan /Nsit Ibom /Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency, Mr Onofiok Luke has called for legislative action to address the plethora of challenges facing the judiciary.
Luke made the call while presenting a motion on : “Urgent Need to Address the Deteriorating Working/Welfare Conditions of Judicial Officers and Provision of Special Intervention Funds for Effective Justice Delivery System in Nigeria” on Thursday during plenary.
The Lawmaker who is the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary noted that the disturbing reports emanating from the judiciary is a cause for concern.
“The various news report about the letter written by the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria bitterly complaining about their poor welfare conditions and operational challenges facing the apex court”
“The Honourable Justices in the letter, as reported in the media, specifically complained about the lack of accommodation by newly appointed justices of the Supreme Court, epileptic power supply to the court and the justices’ residences, lack of internet services, lack of training and workshops, non-provision of legal assistants to the justices, deterioration of healthcare delivery and unavailability of drugs at the court’s clinic, and other operational challenges, which have the effect of impacting negatively on the performance of judicial functions, thereby crippling justice delivery with attendant effect on the maintenance of law and order in the nation”, Luke said
Luke drew the attention of the House to the fact that the last time the renumeration of judicial officers was reviewed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission was in 2008. He added that the poor renumeration can make the justices prone to compromising their impartiality and integrity.
“There is acute shortage of infrastructure in the judiciary resulting in most judicial officers still recording proceedings in long hands and sitting in dilapidated or unconducive courthouses across the country owing to perennial underfunding of the judiciary”
” The Judiciary is faced with enormous and expanding responsibilities of providing judicial services to an increasing population of 200 million people, building new courts and re-furbishing the existing ones across the Federation, engagement of new judicial officers and staff, all for greater access to justice and effective and efficient justice delivery to the people”
“The Judiciary is the least funded of the three arms of government and its budgetary allocation has not increased much for the past 12 years despite the Judiciary being a critical institution of government with rising responsibilities and attending to rising population”, Luke stated.
Luke called for upward review of the renumeration of judicial officers, increase in the budgetary allocation to the judiciary in the coming fiscal year and urged the Federal Government to provide Special Intervention Funds for the development of the Judiciary.
The House resolved that the motion be stepped down and brought back on Tuesday 28 June, 2022 to plenary for further deliberation.