The House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary on Monday rejected the N110 billion allocations to the judiciary in the 2021 Budget.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Onofiok Luke, who spoke when the National Judicial Council (NJC) and judicial bodies appeared before the committee for the defence of their 2021 budget, faulted the Federal Government for failing to increase the allocation to the judiciary despite appointing eight new Justices for the Supreme Court.
He described the reduction in the allocation to the judiciary as illogical.
Luke said: “I don’t know the logic behind the decrease in the allocation to the Supreme Court for 2021 as against what was obtainable even in 2020 when we did not have the number of Justices that we have today.
“If you had budgeted N10billion when the court has less number of justices in the 2020 appropriation, and just towards the end of 2020 the President appointed not one, not two, not three but eight Justices of the Supreme Court, I think wisdom, logic and common sense should prevail on the need to even make an increase. Assuming an increase over the allocation for 2020 could not be achieved, why not remain at the benchmark?”
Other judicial bodies that appeared before the lawmakers were the Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, and the National Judicial Institute.
The NJC Secretary, Ahmed Saleh, in his presentation, demanded more allocation to the judiciary.
He said courts across all cadres are getting more judges, thereby putting more pressure on the sector’s lean purse.
He said: “We are all living witnesses to the 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 of increased funding.”
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