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Judicial autonomy: No arm of government should armtwist the other – Senator Opeyemi



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Chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi has raised a strong voice in defence of judicial autonomy that has become of subject of strike and protests across the country by judicial officers, saying, ‘no arm of government should armtwist the other.

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He was apparently referring to governors’ unwillingness to allow judicial autonomy as enshrined in Section 121, Subsection 3 of 1999 Constitution as amended.

Speaking at the screening exercise for Chief Judge designate of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi on Monday, Senator Opeyemi submitted judicial autonomy would strengthen the arm.

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He said: “While we acknowledge the position of the state governors to commence the implementation of the provision of Section 121, Subsection (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered) with effect from May 21, 2021, it is our hope that all the other issues would be addressed, as soon as possible, so as to pave way for judicial activities to thrive in the overall interest of the nation. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“As we said earlier in this Committee, the fiscal autonomy of both the Judiciary and the legislature at the state level, as it is at the federal level, is non-negotiable.

“This is by ensuring autonomy for all arms of government in a way that no arm of government can hold the others to ransom, that itself being the legislative intent of Sections 81 (3) and 121 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Linked to the desired fiscal autonomy for each of the three arms of Government is also the urgent, cogent and compelling need to ensure fiscal autonomy of each of the tiers (Federal, State and Local) of Government, specifically as it relates to Local Government autonomy, if we must have a healthy democracy founded on true federalism.

He called on State governors to work with the National Assembly to further strengthen the arm in the o going Constitutional review.

The Senate on Tuesday 20th April, 2021, deliberated on Mr President’s request for the confirmation of nomination of Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi, for appointment as the Hon. Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

In an executive communication Preaident Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the name of Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi as Chief Judge of the FCT in placement of Justice Ishaq Bello who retired at the age of 65.

The Committee report was expected to be submitted to the Committee of the whole for futher legislative action on Tuesday, 27th April, 2021.


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