Articles

Judiciary Funding: Court Issues Fresh Summons on AGF, N’Assembly

22 Feb 2013

Views: 1,248

Font Size: a / A

1702N.Mr-Olisa-Agbakoba.jpg - 1702N.Mr-Olisa-Agbakoba.jpg

Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN)

By Tobi Soniyi

A Federal High Court in Abuja Thursday issued fresh summons on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the National Assembly to come and defend a suit filed by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), seeking to secure financial independence for the judiciary.

In his originating summons, Agbakoba is asking for full implementation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which granted the judiciary's expenditures the status of 'first line charge'.

Agbakoba argued that besides independent budgeting, the funds belonging to the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund ought to be released to the NJC in full for disbursement for the needs of the courts.

He is asking the court to declare that the judiciary does not need to submit its budget to the President of the country but rather should send the budget straight to the National Assembly for appropriation.

The former NBA president also asked the court to declare that the present practice on judiciary funding, which is dependent on the executive arm in budgeting and release of funds is in violation of sections 81(2),(3),(c) and 84(2),(7) of the constitution and therefore unconstitutional.

He asked the court to issue a perpetual injunction against the defendants from practices of judiciary funding which ran contrary to the provisions of the constitution to wit, submitting judiciary's estimates to the executive instead of directly to the National Assembly and release of the judiciary fund in warrants by the executive instead of directly to the NJC for disbursement.

When the matter came up Thursday, Agbakoba’s lawyer, Mr. Chijioke Emeka, told Justice Adamu Bello that all the defendants had been served.

However, the judge directed that fresh hearing notices be issued and sent to the defendants since none of them was in court.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter to April 23, this year for mention.

In his originating summons, Agbakoba raised five issues for determination by the court. The issues, which centre on appropriate interpretation of Section 81 (1) (2) (3), Section 84 (2) (3) (7) and 162 (9) of the 1999 Constitution invite the court to determine that judiciary's budget ought to be taken by the NJC to the National Assembly for appropriation as against the current practice of taking it to the Budget Office under the Presidency.

In a 22-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, Agbakoba said the executive arm of the government had placed a ceiling on Judiciary's budget, which he alleged had declined from N90 billion and N75 billion in the previous two years' budgets to N65 billion in the current budget.

He attributed the poor state of court rooms, poor motivation of judges, frequent strikes by judiciary workers, uncertain pension for judges and corruption in the judiciary to the failure of defendants in suits to comply with the provisions of the constitution on the independence and funding of the judiciary.

In his originating summons, Agbakoba raised five issues for determination by the court. The issues, which centre on appropriate interpretation of Section 81 (1) (2) (3), Section 84 (2) (3) (7) and 162 (9) of the 1999 Constitution invite the court to determine that judiciary's budget ought to be taken by the NJC to the National Assembly for appropriation as against the current practice of taking it to the Budget Office under the Presidency.

Tags: News, Nigeria, Featured, Judiciary Funding, AGF, N’Assembly

Comments: 0

Rating: 

 (0)
Add your comment

Please leave your comment below. Your name will appear next to your comment. We'll also keep you updated by email whenever someone else comments on this page. Your comment will appear on this page once it has been approved by a moderator.

comments powered by Disqus