Itua and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged State Governments yet to implement first line charge for judiciary to do so to enhance more improvement in the judiciary.
He made the call at the Nigeria Law School Class ‘85’ Reunion Award Ceremony, held in Abuja, on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on June 8, assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill, which granted financial autonomy to State Houses of Assembly and States’ Judiciary.
“With the signing into law of the bill, State Houses of Assembly would now operate like the National Assembly, where Federal Ministry of Finance automatically transferred budgetary allocation direct to the account of the Assembly,” Osinbajo said.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said granting financial autonomy to the judiciary at state levels would bring about great improvement in that arm of government.
“I pray the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) takes more Interest in the implementation process. As at date, I’m informed that only few states have taken steps to implement this constitutional imperative, to guarantee financial independence for the judiciary. Hence, the Bar, as well as the state legislature, as public advocates and representatives, need to monitor and guide compliance in the interest of the legal profession and public good.
“As Federal Government, we are also considering some submissions as to the best way of ensuring implementation without infringing on the constitutional autonomy of states for ensuring any guaranteed principles of federalism,” he said.
Vice President Osinbajo, also, challenged members of the legal profession on the need to uphold the ethics of the profession.
He gave the charge at the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association holding in Abuja. The vice president, who blamed lawyers for delays in the prosecution of corruption cases, expressed displeasure at the current decline of respect for the legal profession, saying the practice had lost several of its values.
He challenged lawyers to make our profession a noble one as it was meant to be. To ensure that issues of justice and integrity are taken seriously to aid the task of nation building.”
“The most important thing is that everyone has a responsibility to ensure that there is a consequence (for wrongdoing). One of the major problems we’ve had is that the legal process is not able to deliver justice within a reasonable time.
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“There are issues that concern public corruption and there are several cases that have been in the court and the government has been criticised for not being able to secure a conviction. There are those who say the prosecution was not prepared.
There are those who say the defence engages in dilatory tactics. There are those who say the judiciary is compromised.
“All these have to do with our administration of justice system. We must accept some responsibilities. The Law Society in England, for example, accepts responsibility of the discipline of lawyers, including those who engage in dilatory tactics in court.”