The Senate yesterday passed the bill recommending the increase of Federal High Court judges from 70 to 100 thereby ensuring the fast tracking of pending cases in court.
The Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to amend the Federal High court Act 2005'', sponsored by the Deputy Senate of the President, Ike Ekweremadu, had scaled second reading on March 7.
The Bill was however, passed for third reading following the adoption of a report of the committee on judiciary led by Sen. Dahiru Kuta.
Speaking after the passage of the bill, Senate President David Mark note that with the passage of the bill by the Senate there will expeditious in the number of cases handled by the Federal High Court.
He said, “I hope that with the passage of the bill we will see some level of expeditious trial of moist of the cases pending at the moment. And like what one of our senators rightly said I think if there is a request for increase we are always here. we appeal to the judiciary to tray as much as possible to disperse with cases to deliver justice. We sympathise with the judiciary and if there is anything we can do we will do."
However a disagreement over the actual number of Judges ensued after the committee report recommended 120 as against 100 as provided in the bill. The explanation of the committee that the increased was to help tackle a wider range of judicial demand failed to convince the senators who voted for the number to remain at 100.
However in his presentation, Senator Dahiru said the amendement would check unnecessary delay in the dispensation of Justice and the development would also lead to an increase in the number of judges for state division.
He added that the appointment of more judges would lead to increase in the number of judges per division.
The Committee observed that the Federal High Court at the moment has 34 division spread across the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and due to insufficient number of judges there a good number of cases pending before the various division of the Court.
The Committee states,“ available statistics show that Abuja, Division has about 2000 pending caseswith two judges to preside over them, Lagos division has about 15,000 cases to be presided over by 8 judges and PortHarcourt division has 15000 cases pending before it.”
Speaking on the bill, Senator Adamu Abdulahi applauded urged the Federal government to make infrastructure available for the Judges so that they would be able to do their work effectively.