John Adams, Minna
Former military Head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd) and Sokoto State Governor Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal have jointly called for the removal of all obstacles in the way of full judicial autonomy in Nigeria.
The two leaders further added that only improved welfare for judicial officers in the country can guaranteed a corrupt-free judiciary.
They spoke in Minna on Monday at the opening of a training programme for magistrates and district court judges in the state organised by the Department of International Development, Role UK, Judicial College, London and Africa House in collaboration with the Niger State government.
They believed that the clamour for a corrupt-free and effective judicial system in the country can only be achieved when there is autonomy and improved funding.
The former head of state, speaking in his capacity as the chairman of the occasion, said providing the enabling environment, especially in relation to the welfare and workplace, for the judiciary to function optimally is fundamental to the independence of the third arm of government.
The former leader decried the rot and dilapidation in the infrastructure in courts, especially magistrates across the country, as he called for the immediate intervention by state governments.
According to him, “In terms of the welfare and working places, as you go round the country, you will see dilapidated court buildings needing repairs. I think we need to look into that and try to do the repairs in order to encourage their performances.”
He called for peaceful coexistence among all arms of government, stressing that the country candidate develop in atmosphere of chaos and unrest.
On his part, Sokoto Governor Tambuwal said the judiciary as the last hope of the common man must be encouraged to deliver on its services.
“If we don’t give them the training, if we don’t give them the funding, we shouldn’t expect them to perform magic,” he noted, adding that a situation whereby the third arm of government goes “cap-in-hand” to the executive for funds diminishes its independence.
Tambuwal commended Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello for granting partial autonomy to the judiciary, while urging other governors to follow suit.
“If we want a corrupt-free judiciary, we must ensure that they have their independence in terms of financial autonomy and [they must] also well remunerated as at when due,” advised.
Governor Bello, speaking at the occasion, called for necessary judicial reforms to make the administration of justice easier and quicker.
He said the training, which is the first in the country, is apt and handy as it provides a rare opportunity for lower court judges to tackle new challenges confronting them in the field.