Human rights lawyer and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, has filed a suit against the National Assembly, National Judicial Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation at a Federal High Court for poor funding of the judiciary.
According to his counsel, Mr Chijioke Emeka, Agbakoba is requesting that the judiciary be granted the status of first-line charge for its expenditures as provided for by the constitution.
Agbakoba raised five questions for determination by the court, on the interpretation of Sections 81(1}(2}(3), 84(2)(3)(7) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution, urging the court to determine that judiciary’s budget ought to be taken by the NJC straight to the National Assembly for appropriation as against the practice of taking it to the budget office under the presidency.
He also argued that besides independent budgeting, funds that belong to the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund be released directly to the judiciary to take care of the needs of the courts rather to the executive as presently practiced.
The 22-paragraph affidavit supporting the suit also pointed out that the Executive had put a limit on the budget of the judiciary which he said declined from N90billion to N65billion in the current budget.
NBA former president blamed, “the poor state of court rooms, poor motivation of judges, frequent strikes by Judiciary staff, uncertain pension for Judges and corruption in the Judiciary on the failure of the defendants in the suit to comply with the provisions of the Constitution on independent and adequate funding of the Judiciary.”