“Free the Judiciary from Financial Bondage,” CJN Ibrahim Tanko Cries Out.


By Frank Ajufo in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Tanko has lamented the paucity of funding of the Nigerian judicial sector.
Justice Tanko stated this at the special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2019/2020 legal year & swearing in of newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).
The CJN stressed that the continuous dependence of the judiciary on the Executive arm of government for its finances is negatively impacting on the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.
“…when we assess the Judiciary from the financial perspective, how free can we say we are? Annual budget of the Judiciary is still a far cry from what it ought to be. The figure is either stagnated for a long period or it goes on a progressive decline.
“The only thing I can do at this juncture is to plead with all concerned to let us enjoy our independence holistically. If you say I am independent, but in a way, whether I like it or not, I have to go cap in hand, asking for funds to run my office, then I have completely lost my independence. It is like saying a cow is free to graze about in the meadow but at the same time, tying it firmly to a tree. Where is the freedom?”
He there stressed that the underfunding is to a large extent, affecting productivity, increasing frustration and deflating moral.
On the rule of law, Justice Tanko also emphasized that nobody will be allowed to flout court orders regardless of his or her position, as all binding court orders must be obeyed, as he pledged that the Judiciary under his watch will strongly uphold the tenets of the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the land.
“The rule of law which is the bastion of every democracy across the world will be strictly observed in all our dealings and we must impress it on the governments at all levels.
“All binding court orders must be obeyed; and nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgements. We must collectively show the desired commitment to the full enthronement of the rule of law in the land.”
The CJN did not leave out the issue of welfare of judicial officers in the country which he described as abysmally poor and called on relevant authorities to increase salaries of judicial staffs, especially for retirees.
38 SANs were sworn in at the occasion, as the CJN reminded them that they have lost their private lives and must therefore, conduct themselves henceforth with dignity which their new positions have conferred on them.
End



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