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Senate charges governors to grant autonomy to judiciary

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EKITI GOVERNORSHIP: Opeyemi Bamidele returns

The Senate on Monday challenged governors of the 36 states in the country to grant full autonomy to the judiciary in their various states.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed Executive Order No 10 of 2020 granting financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary last year.

The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on an indefinite strike on April 6 to press home their demand for financial autonomy to the judiciary in the states.

The strike has crippled activities in courts across the country.

Members of JUSUN and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) began a nationwide protest on the matter on Monday.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who made the call when the groups stormed the National Assembly, said judicial autonomy was non-negotiable.

He urged the state governors to emulate the Federal Government by granting independence to the judicial arm of government.

Bamidele said: “It is laughable that at this point, we are still grappling with the need to grant independence to the judiciary arm of government at the state level and at the local government levels.

READ ALSO: Senate adjourns plenary due to demise of two lawmakers

“The National Assembly has been making laws that would guarantee full autonomy to the judiciary at the federal level.

“The National Assembly does not make laws for the states, such power resides in the state Houses of Assembly.

“Judiciary at the Federal Capital Territory is independent because we have done what we (National Assembly) are supposed to do.

“What is next is for the state Houses of Assembly to do what they are supposed to do.

“As a principle, and as a policy, members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, have tried not to call on those who are protesting to stop such protests.

“We do not want protests but definitely, we would rather talk more to state governors, Houses of Assembly and other stakeholders to do the needful in the overriding public interest.

“We cannot continue to call on the judiciary to give peace a chance when we know the conditions under which they work cannot guarantee a passionate and enhanced delivery of justice.”

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