A former National Legal Adviser of the governing All Progressive Congress Muiz Banire has asked the executive arm of Nigeria’s government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure it ends the treatment of the judiciary like its agency.
Muiz, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in a statement titled “We Are Only as Good as Those Who Judge Us” said:
“The Judiciary is an arm of government that must be accorded the same regard applicable to the other two arms.
“The treatment of the judiciary like an agency of the executive must stop forthwith,” he said.
He argued that the welfare of judges are still appalling, particularly their remuneration and said “an amount that cannot even account for the application of technology is budgeted for the entire arm of government”.
“Any amount proposed by the Judiciary must be left intact as the figure still cannot go half way. We must remember that not only that the Judiciary is the bedrock of our democracy but the catalyst for the country’s growth.
“Without efficient administration of justice, no investment can be attracted and peace, essential to develop the nation, will continue to elude us.
“A nation that maltreats it judiciary cannot be part of a civilised world where dispensation of justice is an essential element of nation building.”
On Monday the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike warned the federal government that it will be destroying the criminal justice system in states across the country if it implements the Executive Order 10.
Wike insisted that the Executive Order 10 which permits the deduction of funds from each state’s account to finance the judiciary, is politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general election.
The National Assembly had also rejected the N110 billion (about $288 million) earmarked for the Judiciary in the 2021 fiscal year describing it as “grossly inadequate to bring about the needed turnaround in the arm of government.”
Banire in his statement said “it is gladdening to read in the media the rejection by the House of Representatives Committee for the judiciary of the ‘envelope’ budget brought by the Executive arm of the Nigerian government.
“Quite recently also, the Senate Committee on Judiciary equally denounced the ridiculous amount budgeted for the judiciary.
“Recall sometimes ago that I contended that this envelope system is not only unconstitutional in its application to the judiciary but unrealistic.
“The challenges confronting the organ is daunting, particularly in the wake of Covid-19.
“I stand solidly by the Senate and House Committees and call on all patriotic Nigerians to back them,” he said.
By Abel Ejikeme