Financial autonomy will strengthen judiciary ― HURILAWS

The Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 which seeks to enforce financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary of the 36 states of the Federation, saying such move would hopefully begin the journey of strengthening the judiciary.

HURILAWS gave this commendation at the weekend in a statement issued by Collins Okeke, a Senior Legal/Programmes Officer with the body, saying it welcomed and appreciated the recent move, even though it had doubts of an executive order being “the ideal instrument for implementing financial autonomy at states.”

“The Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) welcomes the recent signing by President Buhari of Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 which seeks to enforce financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary of the 36 states of the Federation.

“Although we have doubts an executive order is the ideal instrument for implementing financial autonomy at states. We nonetheless appreciate the effort of the President to enforce the Judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 Olisa Agbakoba vs FG, The NJC & National Assembly,” the statement said.

Tribune Online reports that the body argued that former president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), had, in the above matter, sued the Federal Government and two others on the interpretation of Section 81(2) and Section 84(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) of the 1999 Constitution.

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According to HURILAWS, Agbakoba had amongst other reliefs, challenged the National Judicial Council’s practice of sending its budget to the Budget Office of the Executive arm for appropriation, arguing that it was an infringement on the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

It recalled that the court, in its judgment delivered in 2014, agreed with him and ordered the National Judicial Council to henceforth send its budget directly to the National Assembly for appropriation, but sadly noted that “since the judgment, no serious effort was made by the Federal Government or states to enforce the judgment.

“We, therefore, commend the effort of the president. It will hopefully begin the journey of strengthening the judiciary,” HURILAWS declared.

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