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General News of Thursday, 18 November 2021


Provide more security for judicial officers - Reps panel tells FG

The image used to illustrate the story The image used to illustrate the story

The House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary has called on the executive to provide a more secure environment for judges to carry out their duties.

Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa Ibom), the Chairman of the Committee, made the call on Wednesday, November, 17, during the budget defence by the National Judicial Council.

The lawmaker also said the recent raid on the home of Mary Odili, a justice of the Supreme Court, must not repeat itself.

He called for a “secured environment for our judicial officials to operate without hindrance, without any fear of intimidation or harassment.”

Mrs Odili is the wife of Peter Odili, a former Governor of Rivers State, who has been having a running battle with the anti-graft agency, EFCC.

Last week, the Nigeria Police Force paraded 14 persons as imposters who invaded the home of the jurist.

This House Committee on Justice had earlier called for an investigation into the raid.

Mr Onofiok also called for the deployment of technology to all the courtrooms across the country.

He said the deployment of technology “would make our courtrooms to be in line with what is obtainable in other climes.”

Court sittings

The outbreak of COVID-19 affected the sitting of the courts in Nigeria.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, had in April 2020 ordered courts to shut down, except in urgent matters.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had promised that technology would be deployed to courts in line with COVID-19 guideline, however, inadequate technology in courts slow down the administration of justice.

The committee also lauded the increase in the statutory allocation to the judiciary from N110 billion to N120 billion.

Mr Onofiok said the committee was at the forefront of the clamouring for the increment in the budget of the judiciary. He added that the committee will also be pressing for an increase in the salaries of the judicial officers.

In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of NJC, Ahmed Saleh, lamented the impact of depreciating naira on the budget of the council. According to him, the capital component of its budget suffers when naira is weakened.

“The exchange rate of naira to dollar as of December 2020 was N380 to one US dollar. But May this year, the naira has further depreciated to N570 to one USD,” Mr Saleh said.

He stated that “due to this depreciation and inflation, we certainly cannot achieve total completion” of some of the capital projects in the 2021 budget.

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