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National AssemblyAs Judiciary battles credibility crisis, Senate insists on investigation

As Judiciary battles credibility crisis, Senate insists on investigation

 

OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Tuesday said it is going ahead with its investigation of the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court in order to find a lasting solution to the matter of credibility.

The Red Chamber thus mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters to carry out the investigation and interact with relevant stakeholders to address the complaints raised.

Committee Chairman, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District relied on Orders 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended) to present a motion to that effect. 

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Senator Opeyemi recalled that on Tuesday 21 June 2022, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan drew the attention of the chamber to the media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He cited that Justices of the Court, through a petition signed by a majority of them, raised issues bordering on deplorable welfare conditions and difficult working environment for the Justices.

The Ekiti lawmaker noted that the Senate President emphasised the need for the chamber to urgently step into the matter as any issue that concerns the Judiciary is an issue of urgent national importance, adding that the Senate cannot afford to sit idly by and allow the issue to spiral out of control.

He also stressed that poor welfare of judicial officers would affect the delivery of the judiciary in respect of their output and will prevent them from performing optimally.

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In moving the motion, Senator Opeyemi observed that the sacred image of the Judiciary, which is the epi-centre of the temple of justice should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed.

Accordingly, Lawan directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to get involved in the matter with a view to unravelling the root cause of the recent developments and how best the Senate can intervene in order to address the concerns raised by the Justices. 

He further observed that Justices are taciturn and reticent in handling issues outside their judicial domain but resorting to such measures in order to protect the Judiciary, requires the Senate to rise up to the occasion to ensure that their demands are addressed.

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He also expressed regrets that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed on Sunday 27th June 2022, voluntarily resigned his appointment on grounds of ill-health, leaving the most senior Justice to act as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

However, this development will not prevent the Committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.

“Though Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed has stepped down as CJN, most of the issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the Judiciary, still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual short-down of the Judiciary.

The Committee is taking steps to look into the matter as directed by the President of the Senate by making arrangements to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and on the Bench,” Opeyemi stated.

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The Senate accordingly resolved to mandate the Sen Opeyemi-led Committee to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders to address the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.

It also mandated the committee to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three arms of Government, as well as at the Bar and on the Bench, and collate aggregate views and positions on the short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary.

The committee is also to look into measures for immediate fiscal intervention as well as long-term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices.

The Upper Legislative Chamber resolved to wish the Honourable Chief Justice well, following many years of meritorious service to the nation, and to pray for his good health. 

Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies; and B.Sc in Mass Communication.
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