Gift Joseph Okpakorese
The Senate has requested that state Governors should execute full autonomy for the judiciary.
According to reports, the Senate issued a mandate directing the governors of the 36 states to implement full autonomy for the judiciary, adding that it is non-negotiable.
The chairman of the Senate committee on judiciary, human rights, and legal matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, made the demand while addressing reporters in Abuja on Monday 20th of April, 2021.
In a statement released on the same day, it was revealed that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was on strike to revolt against the FG’s refusal to implement independence for the judiciary.
Bamidele continued, explaining the need for an independent judiciary to enhance the genuine practice of democracy in the country, especially with the current situation of things. He further brought to the attention of everyone that no harm, not ulterior motives are intended in this move and that no one stands to relinquish anything with the new development put in place.
He was, however, dumbfounded at the sluggish attitude of the state administrators to authorize the request for independence, even though it had already been approved by the national assembly
“Nobody stands to lose anything by granting independence to the judiciary at the state level, since it has been done at the national level,” he said.
“We are hereby calling on the state governors to do the needful, because the independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable.
“No democracy can survive without being founded on the rule of law and an independent judiciary.”
Bamidele thus remarked that state houses of assembly must perform “what they are supposed to do” and enact a law for the judiciary to be fully autonomous.
“The national assembly does not make laws for the states; such power resides in the state houses of assembly,” he said.
“Judiciary at the federal capital territory is independent because we have done what we are supposed to do.
“What is next is for the state houses of assembly to do what they are supposed to do.”
Recall that in May 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved an executive order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary across the states to strengthen their systems. However, the gazetting of the order was, postponed as a result of the aftermath of a conference held between the president and the governors.
It was later revealed by media sources that a majority of the state governors were not in support of such an agenda as such suppressed the decision and initiative.
The governors, however, have come out to refute such indictment and claimed that they were not responsible for the delay in implementation of the FG’s directives, and have also assured the judiciary that they are not against the move.
The governors further confirmed that procedures are already in place to formally kick start the process of implementation of the autonomy for both the state legislature and judiciary.
Meanwhile, it was also gathered that some state leaders who are skeptical of the decision, have contended that the move will expect each state to organize a house of assembly service commission, with the obligation of handling all the executive processes of the legislature.