OrderPaperToday – The Senate has passed the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Act (Amendment) Bill 2016, to increase the number of judges in the High Court of the FCT from 37 to 75.

The passage of the bill on Thursday followed a clause by clause consideration of the report of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the bill.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Joshua Lidani (Gombe South) and co-sponsored by Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Sen. David Umaru and Sen. Andy Uba (PDP, Anambra South).

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Presenting the report, Sen. Umaru who is chairman of the committee said the amendment of the FCT Act had become necessary since it had not been amended since 2003.

He said the main objective of the bill was to reduce the workload of judges in the High Court of the FCT, who are overwhelmed by increased population in Abuja, rising criminal activities as well as higher level of political and socio-economic activities.

He said: “The passage of the bill will increase the number of judges from 37 to 75, thereby aiding quick dispensation of justice.

“We conducted a Public Hearing and stakeholders unanimously agreed to the increment in the number of judges for quick dispensation of justice.”

The chairman notef that Section 255 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution (Amended) empowered the National Assembly to prescribe the number of judges for the High Court of the FCT.

Most senators who spoke on the report said the amendment had been long overdue in view of the increased number of criminal cases and increased population in the FCT.

They, however, advised that FCT indigenes should be given consideration in the appointment of judges of the High Court of the FCT to correct issues of marginalization over the years.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over plenary, said the 8th National Assembly would continue to make laws to assist the judiciary in conduct of their mandate.

According to him, “we will ensure that the judiciary is given the necessary support for the quick dispensation of justice.”

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