Constitution to Recognise Magistrates as Judicial Officers, Says Gbajabiamila

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Femi Gbajabiamila

By Udora Orizu

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured that the House would address the reason why magistrates are not referred to as judicial officers in Section 318 of the Nigeria’s constitution.

Gbajabiamila also pledged the readiness of the House to address some of the challenges faced by magistrates across the country.

He explained to a team of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria (MAN) that paid him a visit yesterday that situation where magistrates have poor working conditions would not augur well for the judiciary, considering the enormous task before them.

He said: ‘’We just started the amendment (of the constitution). We’ll look at it and bring it in conformity with the best practices in the world. We would do everything we can to address that issue.

‘’I’m just surprised at your condition of work. Obviously, something needs to be done. Based on what you said, something clinical has to be done. I wonder why the situation is like this. We know your work. We know how much you put in this profession.

‘’You talked about the fact that your laws are obsolete. We will work with the relevant committees to begin to look at those laws. Help us write something so that we can review it. We need your inputs. In terms of your salary structure, that’s very important because of the sensitivity of the work you do. All the issues that you brought up are important to the administration of criminal justice. The earlier you get these things across to us the better for us all.”

Earlier, the President of MAN, Mr. Saidu Umar, lamented that they have been grappling with poor working conditions over the years.

Umar said with the coming of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), their work became enormous while their remuneration remained nothing to write home about.