Mallam Manzuma Issa, a former Chairman of the Ilorin Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), on Thursday said financial autonomy for state judiciary would ensure rapid improvement in justice delivery.
“I think over time, the challenge of judiciary at every level is inadequate funding in the system.
“I think the story at the federal level has changed because money due to the judiciary is paid to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for onward disbursement to the head of various courts.
“But the story has not changed at the state level; dilapidated building, lack of computers and libraries and other facilities are still major challenges.
“With the signing of the Executive Order 10 by the president on May 20, 2020, we believe as the funding of the system improves, there will radical transformation in the system and rapid improvement that would bring efficient and effective service delivery.
” What the governors are saying is that Nigeria is a federation and even if the Section 5 of the constitution gives the president the power to defend the constitution, it has to do with the federal judiciary, not the state judiciary.
“In an ideal democracy, this is right. But governors also would have to implement the provisions of the constitution.
“Governor should have power to implement that section of the provision as it regards the state judiciary.
“The provisions of the constitution are mandatory. It does not need approval. It is self implemented.
“In a federation, the money due to the state must be paid into its account and it is the responsibility of the governor to disburse accordingly because funding is the responsibility of the governor.
“In those days, the judiciary used to be on the first line charge from the consolidated revenue account of the state, the money due to the judiciary is credited to the account of the head of court for effective running of the system.
“But unfortunately today, we are not running an ideal democracy.
” There is nothing wrong if the president is funding the federal judiciary and the state governors are funding those in states by virtue of the 1999 constitution,” he said.