The senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Sen. Ita Enang, has said that the autonomy of the states Judiciary would enhance justice delivery and integrity.
Enang said this in his paper entitled; Implementation of Financial Autonomy for Judicial and Legislative Arms of Government at the States tier of Government during the 2018/2019 Legal Year public lecture in Uyo on Monday. Our correspondent reports that the theme of the 2018/2019 legal year is; “Strengthening the Judiciary for Effective Justice Delivery.” The Presidential Aide said that when the states judiciary has financial autonomy, they would be able to dispense justice without interference of the state government executives. He explained that the judiciary autonomy in the states should not be discussed in isolation but with the legislative autonomy to ensure that they do not go cap in hand to governors for funds.
According to him, the judicial and legislative autonomy would be a step forward at restructuring governance as allowed in the constitution. He said that the Presidency has been working and would soon unveil the modalities for implementation of the autonomy for judiciary and legislature as one sure step at restructuring governance as allowed by the constitution. “If and when funds for the Judiciary are statutorily transferred to the Judiciary, the Legislature and their related bodies as done at the federal level, each such arm can plan and phase the growth and development of her institution.
“When her funds are exhausted, she will live with same pending the following year’s budget. “As early as 1993, when I was in the pioneer Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, I, with Hon Uwem Ekanem, and other members worked and passed the AKS Judiciary Self Accounting Bill and it was pending Assent by the Governor when the Military dissolved the democratic structures on Nov. 17, 1993,” Enang said.
Enang further said that the autonomy granted would obliterate the harassment which Justices suffered in the hands of the governors who often arrange magistrates on rows to present car keys to them from money of the judiciary. He explained that the autonomy entails that the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state shall be paid directly to the said bodies respectively; in the case of Judiciary, such amount shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned. He disclosed that the federal government had approved Court of Appeal, Uyo Judicial Division for the state and would soon commence sittings. In her remarks, the chairman of the public lecture, Justice Idongesit Ntem-Isua (rtd) said that the theme was apt as federal the government was concern in the strengthening of the judiciary in the country. Ntem-Isua, who was the former Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom said that judiciary autonomy should not be abused but transparency and accountability should be the watch word. She concluded that judiciary independent and autonomy of judiciary and legislature would ensure the integrity of the system.
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