The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, has disclosed that the State Judiciary have been groaning under grossly inadequate fund allocation.
Justice Atilade disclosed this during her courtesy call on the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji. She seized the opportunity offered by her visit to the number three citizen of the state to seek financial autonomy for the State's Judiciary and appointment of more judges.
According to the Chief Judge, 70 per cent of the institution’s budget is expended on debt servicing, leaving only 30 per cent for the judiciary. She, therefore, craved for the intervention of the Assembly to rescue the state’s judiciary from under-development.
While lamenting Lagos State’s Judiciary’s finance, Justice Atilade said lack of adequate funding has been a great challenge to the development of the judicial arm of government in the state, regretting that the great vision she has could not be achieved unless there is financial independence.
“I have come to seek the assistance of the Hon. Speaker and the House concerning financial autonomy for the judiciary in Lagos State and appointment of more judges. We are entitled to have 10 or more judges to enable us dispense justice effectively. More importantly, we need more funds to achieve the great vision I have for the judiciary in the state," she said.
Atilade, who was sworn in as the Chief Judge in November 2014, urged the House of Assembly to give the judiciary the privilege of being part of the lawmaking process, noting that working together on lawmaking would be more productive.
In his response, the Speaker promised that the House would ensure that the judiciary in the state is fairly treated in its quest for financial autonomy, adding that the judiciary ought to be independent, and not be reduced to an arm of the Ministry of Justice.
“We fought for financial autonomy for this House of Assembly and I paid a big price for it. I have no regret over it; I will do it again if given another opportunity. The idea of making the Judiciary an appendage should be rejected. The judiciary should be independent, and not an arm of the Justice Ministry. I can assure you of the support of this House concerning your request for financial independence,” he said.
The Speaker also assured the Chief Judge that the House would look into the issue of appointing more judges for the state. He argued that it is the constitutional responsibility of the legislature to recommend the number of judges required by the judiciary in the state for effective delivery of judicial services.
Ikuforiji, however, stated that the Executive arm has upstaged the Legislature in the recommendation of the number of judges to the National Judicial Commission, stressing that the matter would be resolved as democracy develops in the country.
If you are happy to be contacted by a Daily Trust journalist please leave a telephone
number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will
be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state
otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures,
video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others,
take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the
terms and conditions.