Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate yesterday advocated a special intervention fund for the judiciary just as it screened Justice John Tsoho as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
The upper legislative chamber equally screened Justice Benedict Kanyip as President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Bamidele made the call during the screening held at the National Assembly Complex.
He recalled that the Senate at Plenary on October 29, deliberated on Buhari’s request for the confirmation of the nominations of Tsoho and Kanyip.
“The Senate referred the request to the committee for further legislative action and mandated the committee to report back with its recommendations within one week,’’ he said.
According to the chairman, the committee interviewed Tsoho and Kanyip and received explanation regarding their life, experience, qualifications, confidence and suitability to assume the positions.
Bamidele said that the committee was convinced that there was the need to make available to the Judiciary a special intervention fund to carryout judicial functions effectively.
“I believe this will be an issue for both the legislative and executive arms of government to address most speedily, beyond the current budgetary provision a special intervention fund.
“As elected representatives of the people, it is not yet uhuru. A lot still needs to be done.”
“And for us to be able to catch up there is need for special intervention fund, details of which we believe with the leadership of the legislature we have to work out with the executive arm of government.
“After the special intervention fund, we can then agree on how there can be consistent increase on an annual basis in the annual budget of the nation as far as the judiciary is concerned.
“Something urgently needs to be done about the plight of the Nigerian Judiciary.
“For so long, has the story dominated our political space that our Judiciary is corrupt?
“As far as we are concerned, it is time for Nigeria to change the narrative, it is time for Nigeria to show that we are serious and we understand the full and true meaning of the independence of the judiciary, a cardinal aspect of it is financial independence,’’ Bamidele said.
He called on the two justices to do their best in providing good leadership and also join and spearhead the subtle struggle for the improvement of the welfare of judicial officers.
The committee chairman also called on the screened nominees to do all they could to ensure that the much needed reforms in the judicial sector were driven home.
“Without these reforms all these efforts will continue to be a highway to nowhere,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Tsoho was on July 26 sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, in an acting capacity.
His appointment followed the retirement of Justice Adamu AbdulKafarati, who attained the retirement age of 65 years on July 25.