Justice Tanko Muhammed, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has implored Senate to provide adequate finances to fulfil judicial functions.
The CJN made the plea today (October 11), when the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters gave him a courtesy visit.
According to him, the Supreme Court which is by far one of the most engaging apex courts in the world needed surplus funding to function effectively.
Justice Tanko said that the sum budgeted for the federal judiciary may not be even up to half of the amount allocated to one ministry.
“We have the supreme court and the court of appeal and the court of appeal is having a lot of divisions including the federal high court and national industrial court.
” So we need more funding as we also appoint supporting staff and we have justices and judges.”
Except adequate funding is provided, the CJN held that a lot will remain deficient in the Judicial arm of government.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria sits on a daily basis including Fridays like a Magistrate Court.
“Mainly on Fridays, we deliver judgments and rulings throughout the year except when we find that we can conveniently go on vacation.
“This year we did not even go on vacation this is because of the political cases which are time-bound. We have never allowed any to lapse because we take it seriously.
“We take it a responsibility and a duty that whatever amount of cases we have we will never allow anyone to lapse.“Believe me, many of us do not sleep for the recommended 12 hours by stress managers.
“We don’t write judgment merely by stating that so, so, so and so cases were filed by this and that, and end it up by saying the appeal is hereby dismissed or upheld.
“We have to give reasons which are the bedrock of judgment writing. If I’m to sleep for 12 hours a lot of cases will suffer,” Muhammad said.
Also, Muhammed requested that the Senate amended the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in the 1999 Constitution to avert all appeals getting terminated in the apex court.
According to him, the number of appeals received so far and those awaiting trial in court have been enthralling.
“One of our appeals is that we would like to if and wherever it is possible for the amendment to the Constitution. We will urge you please to take a look at the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Speaking concerning the CJN’s request, the chairman of the committee Sen. Michael Bamidele stated that the Senate had the right to oversee the affairs of the Federal Judiciary just as seen in the Senate Standing Orders of 2015 and the 1999 constitution.
Bamidele added that it was a tradition for the Judicial Arm of Government to pay a courtesy call to the CJN, “We are here today to keep faith with the time-honoured tradition of the committee’’.
The committee chairman noted that the judiciary played a very crucial role in the sustenance and deepening of democratic core values of a nation.
He said that the committee would make necessary interventions to strengthen and guarantee the independence of the Judiciary. He also said that the committee would make appropriate legislative interventions to ensure proper funding for the Judiciary.
‘’The Committee would work in collaboration with the Judiciary to review laws and embark on reforms – including an amendment to the Constitution – to ensure effective and efficient administration of justice’’. He said