— NBA President Holds Talks With Justice Stakeholders At Kaduna
— Seeks to understand challenges confronting the branch.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai has called for the decentralization of the judiciary because according to him the heavy caseload of High Court Judges in Kaduna State hinders the administration of justice.
The governor made this known when the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata paid a working visit to Kaduna State where he visited the Executive Governor; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Hon. Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice; Aisha Dikko, Heads of Courts including the Chief Judge; Hon. Justice Muhammadu Lawal Bello, FICMC, Grand Khadi Sharia Court of Appeal; Hon. Khadi Dr. Shehu and the President Customary Court of Appeal; Hon Justice Danlami Garba, courtesy on Tuesday, said that ‘’on average, a High Court judge in Kaduna state handles about 250 cases.’’
El Rufai said that his administration has ‘’been making cases for the National Judicial Council(NJC), to double the number of High Court judges in Kaduna State, which will reduce the caseload to about 100 per judge which is still too high.’’
Malam El-Rufai who noted that it is an anomaly to have a unitary judiciary in a federation said that “I am one of the major advocates of the decentralization of our unitarist judiciary to a federal one.’’
‘’We are pushing for the creation of State Judicial Councils that will handle the appointment of High Court judges in the states because that is the only way that we will be able to take our fates in our hands.
“I believe that we have enough lawyers in the public and private sectors in Kaduna state, to get 20 judges tomorrow if the State Judicial Council screens them and makes their recommendations. But we are constitutionally constrained as i speak.’’
The governor said that he is ‘’happy that the National Assembly has started the process of trying to remove the bottleneck and I urge the Nigerian Bar Association to openly support it.’’
El Rufai argued that decentralizing the judiciary will be ‘’in the interest of administration of justice, it will give more opportunities for qualified lawyers in the private and public sectors and the academia, to be part of the judiciary.’’
The governor who also has a degree in law, further argued that ‘’ bringing in outsiders always brings innovations and new ideas to improve the system.’’
‘’I do not believe that the only path to being a High Court Judge is to be a magistrate or state counsel. There are many other paths as other countries have shown and have produced excellent judges at all levels,’’ he added.
The President thereafter held an interactive session with members of the various NBA branches in Kaduna State as part of his ongoing exercise of engaging with the Branches in view of understanding their various challenges and in ensuring how the bar can work for all.