The Senate, on Tuesday, insisted that the investigation into the activities of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, will proceed.
Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti) chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, had earlier made a motion on a matter of urgent public importance.
“State of Affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Demand by Justices of the Court” was the title of the motion.
On June 22, the Senate had ordered the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters to investigate the crisis roiling the judiciary immediately.
After the motion was moved, the senate decided to give the committee permission to proceed with its task of engaging with key parties to try and come up with a long-term solution.
This is done in an effort to resolve the issues the Supreme Court Justices raised in their petition.
The committee was also given permission by the Senate to communicate with the pertinent parties in the three branches of government, at the Bar, and on the Bench.
Bamidele had earlier stated that the resolution was being moved in accordance with Rules 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders and that inadequate judicial officer welfare would negatively impact the delivery of the judiciary in terms of their production and prohibit them from performing at their best.
“The sacred image of 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 said.
The lawmaker who regretted the former CJN’s resignation said that “this development will not prevent the committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.
“Even though Muhammad 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.”
Supporting the motion, Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, said that “this motion will show clearly that the Senate is not unaware of the role it is supposed to play.
“Of course, in playing that role, we also respect separation of powers. Our concern is that the judiciary as an arm of government deserves all the support it needs been the last hope as far as the rule of law is concerned.”
In corroboration, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege said, “I am very embarrassed as a lawyer and also someone from the judicial family.
“Seeing that petition on the social media and eventually on the mainstream media, I was taken aback because it has never happened, it is unprecedented.
“There is no reason why the judiciary should lack anything financially.”
In his remarks President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that, “I can see most of the emphasis is on funding.
“When we look into the issues, they go beyond funding.
“We should look at other areas whether there is need to improve on the structures or having issues that may not be about funding but funding is of course a major issue.” Lawan said.
Recently, Muhammad, the former CJN, was accused of corruption by 14 Supreme Court Justices.
The Justices expressed their displeasure in a memo over the former CJN’s failure to pay legitimate entitlements.
Muhammad, the former CJN, reportedly left his office due to health reasons, on Monday.
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