N110b budget inadequate for Judiciary, say Reps
By Tony Akowe, Abuja
‘There’s need for court automation’
Lawmakers decry reduction in Supreme Court’s, others’ estimates
The House of Representatives on Monday decried the low budgetary allocation to the Judiciary.
It noted that for the third arm of government to function effectively, its budgetary allocation must be increased.
The House also said the reduction in the budgetary allocation to the Supreme Court, despite its recent appointment of eight Justices and the Court of Appeal’s plan to appoint about 20 new justices was improper.
Chairman of the House Committee on Federal Judiciary, Onofiok Akpan Luke, spoke against the backdrop that the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal got a reduction in their budgetary allocations.
The committee chairman noted that there is need for automation of the nation’s court system to enhance quick dispensation of justice, especially in view of recent global realities.
Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Reuben Jego, had told the committee that the allocation to the apex court was reduced from N10 billion in 2020 to about N8 billion in the 2021 budget estimates.
He said the allocation would not be sufficient for the highest courts to take care of their financial needs.
Also, Secretary to the National Judicial Council, Ahmed Gambo Saleh, who regretted that other arms of government determined what the Judiciary got as its budget for the year.
He said the N187 billion estimate prepared by the Judiciary was slashed to N110 billion as the courts were compelled to operate within the envelope given to them.
Luke said: “The recent security threats to judges, denigration of the sanctity of courts and vandalisation of court infrastructure are few examples. These destructive acts are highly condemnable and call for concerted action.
“The House believes that the Judiciary is mindful of the challenges being globally experienced while attempts are being made by Courts and Judicial Bodies, through budgetary allocations, to ensure that adequate provisions are made in priority areas, like the welfare and security of judicial officers, staff of the Judiciary and litigants, electro-fitting and automation of court rooms, in line with global best practices, as well as provision of modern infrastructure in courts, which is sacrosanct for effective and efficient justice delivery and administration.”