The House of Representatives on Thursday tasked Federal Government on the urgent need to appoint more Justices into the Supreme Court, with the view to expedite justice delivery in the country.
The resolution was passed following the adoption of a motion on Urgent Public Importance, sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Hon. Onofiok Akpan Luke.
In his lead debate, Hon. Onofiok observed that the Supreme Court of Nigeria as the apex and final court of the land, has original and appellate jurisdiction over the entire country to adjudicate on disputes and controversies arising from any subject matter.
According to him, against the maximum of 21 Justices prescribed in section 230(2b) of the 1999 Constitution, only 13 Justices number of Supreme Court Justices has reduced to 13, thereby hampering the justice delivery.
“As a result of its original and appellate jurisdiction over the entire country, the Supreme Court is faced with the huge responsibility of handling high volume of cases with minimal number of Justices.
“The House is aware that the number of Justices of the Supreme Court has been reduced to 13 with the recent retirement of Hon. Justice Amiru Sanusi from the Court, and the situation will become worse owing to the impending retirement of another justice of the court in few months from now.
“The House is also aware that section 230(2b) of the 1999 Constitution prescribes the maximum number of the justices of the Supreme Court to be 21 and the Court in its history has not had a full complement of the prescribed 21 number of Justices.
“The House is worried that the reduction in the number of justices will slow down the dispensation of justice and affect the pace at which matters are meant to be determined, and will put the available number of justices of the court under immense pressure as there are many cases to be decided by the court.
“The House is concerned that some cases stay undecided in the Supreme Court for over ten years and that as of now, the diary of the Supreme Court is full with no date for a new appeal until 2021.