Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Former Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem, has stated that the granting of financial autonomy to the judiciary would free the arm of government from undue interference from other arms of government, especially the executive.
Edem who said this in an interview with journalists, also stressed that it would enable the judiciary solve its problems without resorting to the executive for financial support.
He said the judiciary could be compelled to a situation where it has to regularly beg the executive for financial assistance.
He said, “The only autonomy that would go quite a long way in solving the problems of the judiciary will be financial. The other autonomy, you know; the three arms of government, are like a sort of tripod. If one leg is not there, the tripod will fall and whatever is put on it will equally fall. So, there will be that tight water tight autonomy. The autonomy that would make meaning and that will put judiciary where it should be placed is financial. Like I said, money answereth everything, if you are financially autonomous, you cannot stand the risk of maybe doing what you should have not done, contemplating what you have not contemplated because you are in financial stress. I think the water tight autonomy is not it, but financial autonomy is it.
” You know, money answereth everything. Some people say money is the root of all evils. Financial independence of the judiciary I think would go a long way to changing the completion of the status of the judiciary.
“Without such independence the judiciary would always find itself cap in hand going to the Executive to get what it could have got by itself.
In the process, you know he who pays the pipper dictates the tune. In the process, certain issues which could not have been, would come to be. Something tending towards compromise.”
He said though it may be difficult for the three arms of government to operate strictly without interacting with each other, but the judiciary’s respect would be intact if it has financial autonomy.
“So, the way out is complete financial independence. But, that does not mean that brick walls must be built between the judiciary and the executive. That link like siamese relationship would still remain, but on a more respectable note,” Edem said.