[wysija_form id=”1″]March 18, 2015 – Chief Judge of Lagos State, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Olajumoke Atilade has said that the judiciary is groaning and is consequently seeking the assistance of the state House of Assembly for financial autonomy and appointment of more judges in the state.
She said that there is grossly inadequate fund allocation to the sector.
According to her, 70 percent of the institution’s budget is expended on debt servicing, leaving only 30 percent for the judiciary. She, therefore, crave for the intervention of the Assembly to rescue the state’s judiciary from underdevelopment.
Atilade, who was sworn in as the Chief Judge in November last year, made the request when she paid a visit to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji in his office.
She also urged the assembly to give the judiciary the privilege of being part of the lawmaking process, noting that working together on lawmaking would be more productive.
Atilade regretted that the great vision she has could not be achieved unless there is financial independence.
‘‘I have come to seek the assistance of the Hon. Speaker and the House concerning financial autonomy for the judiciary in Lagos State and appointment of more judges. We are entitled to have 10 or more judges to enable us dispense justice effectively. More importantly, we need more funds to achieve great visions I have for the judiciary in the state,’’ the Chief Judge explained.
The Speaker has however promised her the readiness of the House to ensure that the judiciary is fairly treated in its quest for financial autonomy, insisting that judiciary ought to be independent, and not be reduced to an arm of the Ministry of Justice.
He also assured the Chief Judge that the House would look into the need to appoint more judges, arguing that it is the constitutional responsibility of the legislature to recommend number of judges required by the judiciary in the state for effective delivery of judicial services.
He however stated that the Executive arm has upstaged the Legislature in recommendation of a number of judges to the National Judicial Commission, stressing that the matter would be resolved as democracy develops in the country.
‘‘We fought for financial autonomy for this House of Assembly and I paid a big price for it. I have no regret over it; I will do it again if given another opportunity. The idea of making the Judiciary an appendage should be rejected. The judiciary should be independent, and not an arm of the Justice Ministry. I can assure you of the support of this House concerning your request on financial independence.’’