BY DICKSON AGBO
The House of Representatives special ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution has approved the proposed Bill seeking for the termination of appeals on interlocutory application at the courts of appeal.
If the Bill scales through, the Code of Conduct Tribunal would become a full-fledged court.
The committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff, after a robust debate at the last meeting of the committee, consultants and PLAC representatives, concluded that only cases involving death penalty, enforcement of human rights and interpretation of the constitution would be entertained at the Supreme Court.
All matters relating to pre-election matters or election matters and any other cases would be terminated at the appellate court.
The committee has so far treated 40 Bills and at the last meeting, the committee considered the Judiciary Reform Bill. The Bill is a consolidated Bill prepared by heads of courts and judicial bodies in Nigeria.
The Bill was forwarded to the National Assembly on January 26, 2017 by the then Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and was sponsored by Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari, chairman House committee of judiciary.
Some of the highlights of the Bill indicate that the judiciary is trying to review the composition of members of Supreme Court from 21 prescribed by the constitution to 16 and at the same time increase the prescribed minimum membership of the Court of Appeal from 41 to 100 justices.
Indirectly related to this proposal is a proposal by the judiciary to reduce in a radical manner the type of cases that goes on appeal to Supreme Court to just three.
This is to reduce the workload of the Supreme court and also increase the capacity of the court of Appeal to shoulder additional responsibilities, including entertaining appeals from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.