Buhari Advocates Legislative, Judicial Autonomy to Deepen Democracy

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said deliberate efforts to guarantee the autonomy of state legislatures and judiciary, would further strengthen democracy, deepen inclusiveness of citizens and ensure fairness for ordinary Nigerians.

Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the president made the remarks while receiving the report of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary in the State House, Abuja.

According to the statement, the president who promised to study both the report and its recommendations, added that Nigerians wanted justice from their leaders and hence, trust must not be compromised.

“I went through a terrible time getting here for the three times I contested elections. That’s why I want to stabilise the system so that others will not pass through the same experience.

“Both young and ordinary Nigerians depend on leadership to ensure justice is always done. So we must ensure that trust is not compromised. This administration will take the report seriously,’’ he said.

According to the statement, the Chairman of the Committee and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, said implementation of the recommendations would entrench constitutionalism, democratic principles and separation of powers.

“The recommendations clearly spell out that if uniform modules for implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and state judiciary are approved for implementation across 36 states, it will no doubt strengthen Nigeria’s democratic principles, practices and public governance,’’ he was quoted as saying.

It also said Malami added that the committee had observed that most states honoured the constitutional provisions for financial autonomy in the breach, than in observance, noting that the legislature and judiciary remain the last hope of the common man and should be given autonomy.

The statement added that Malami disclosed that the committee consulted with state governors, chief judges of states, speakers of state houses of assembly, civil society organisations and relevant stakeholders, including members of the public.

Adesina recalled that the Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary was inaugurated by Buhari on March 22, 2019, to fashion out strategies and modalities for implementation of the financial autonomy of the state legislature and state judiciary in compliance with Section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution (As Amended).

Answering questions from journalists later, Malami who said the committee submitted its interim report to the president, said among others, the committee recommended the issuance of an Executive Order to compel the effectiveness of local government autonomy.

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