Secretary, National Judicial Council ( NJC), Ahmed Gambo Saleh, stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, to defend the 2021 budget proposals of the council, yesterday.
Saleh, while giving an overview of the 2021 budget proposal of the judiciary, said the N110 proposal for the 2021 fiscal year was inadequate.
The judiciary had submitted a proposal of N187. 9 billion, but had to adjust to N110 billion, which was approved for it in the 2021 fiscal year, he said.
“While we appreciate the sustained funding of the judiciary by the government, but permit me to reecho the position of the chairman on the need for increased funding to the Nigerian judiciary. We are all living witnesses to current situation in the country. In view of this, I want to reiterate the same position that the Nigerian Judiciary is indeed in dire need for increased funding.
“At the instance of the executive and coupled with public outcry for a fast efficient judicial system, the Supreme Court of Nigeria was made to increase the compliment of that court to twenty including the Chief Justice. We were promised a special intervention and that intervention is yet to come.
“As a response to this yearnings, Court of Appeal also had to establish four additional divisions, not only that they are also in the process of appointing additional twenty justices of the court of appeal. The Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court are also in the process of appointing twenty additional judges, so also are the various state courts,” he stated.
Saleh explained that without additional funding, the judiciary might not be able to cope with the challenges confronting it, including those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has compelled the judiciary to continue to delibrate on deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
He lamented that the vandalism and looting of court facilities across the country, in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests, has posed fresh challenges, which cannot be addressed without increased funding.
Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, said the Committee will engage the leadership of the National Assembly to get more funds for the judiciary to ensure expedited and efficient dispensation of justice in the country.
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