Senate probes petition by Supreme Court Justices despite former CJN’s resignation

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• seeks measures to avert crisis in Judiciary

The Senate has mandated the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to go ahead with the probe of the crisis in the Judiciary by looking into the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.

It also tasked the Committee to interface with the three arms of government, as well as at the Bar and on the Bench to collate aggregate views and positions on the short-term, medium-term and long-term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary.

According to the Senate, such measures must include the immediate fiscal intervention as well as long-term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices.

These were resolutions reached by the Senate, sequel to a motion brought to the floor by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).

Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022, as amended, Senator Bamidele recalled that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, last week, drew the attention of the chamber to media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He noted that the poor welfare of Judicial Officers would adversely affect the output of the Judiciary in service delivery.

According to the lawmaker, “the Judiciary, which is the epicentre of the temple of justice, should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed.”

He stated that the Committee, in taking steps to look into the matter as directed by the Senate President, has started the process of making arrangements to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and on the Bench.

He said that the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed, on Sunday 27th June 2022, “will not prevent the committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.”

Opeyemi noted that “even though Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammed has stepped down as CJN, most of the issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the Judiciary, still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual shut down of the Judiciary.”