BY Chinedu Asadu
The senate has asked governors of the 36 states to implement full autonomy for the judiciary, saying that it is non-negotiable.
Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters, made the demand while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday.
The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) is currently on strike recently to protest the government’s failure to implement autonomy for the judiciary.
Bamidele said an independent judiciary is needed for true democracy in Nigeria, adding that no one stands to lose anything with such in place.
He, therefore, wondered why the governors are reluctant to endorse the autonomy which had been approved by the national assembly at the federal level.
“Nobody stands to lose anything by granting independence to judiciary at the state level since it has been done at the national level,” he said.
“We are hereby calling on the state governors to do the needful because the independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable.
“No democracy can survive without being founded on the rule of law and independent judiciary.”
Bamidele said state houses of assembly must do “what they are supposed to do” and enact a law for the judiciary to be fully autonomous.
“The national assembly does not make laws for the states; such power resides in the state houses of assembly,” he said.
“Judiciary at the federal capital territory is independent because we have done what we are supposed to do.
“What is next is for the state houses of assembly to do what they are supposed to do.”
In May 2020, the president signed an executive order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary across the states to enhance their performance.
The gazetting of the order was, however, suspended after the president met with governors — triggering reports that the governors were frustrating the move.
But the governors have said they are not against the move.
They said efforts are in place to work out a framework for the implementation of the autonomy for both the state legislature and judiciary.
Some of them have also argued that the move will require each state to establish a house of assembly service commission, with the responsibility of handling all the administrative functions of the legislature.