Media and Judicial Expert Task President Tinubu to Make Strong Well-funded Institutions

The success of Nigeria’s democracy depends on a strong judiciary, media, and security agencies, among other institutions.

Resource person at the 2023 Annual Lecture of the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC) held at the Muson Centre, Lagos, gave this submission.

Those who spoke included Justice Taiwo Taiwo (Retd), Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Adetunji Oyeyipo and Mr. Abiodun Olatunji, and a former Editor of The Nation newspaper, Mr. Lekan Otunfodunrin.

They tasked President Bola Tinubu to make strong, well-funded institutions rather than strong men, a hallmark of his administration.

Guest speaker Olatunji, who delivered a paper on the theme, “Birthing a new Nigeria: Role of the Judiciary, Security Agencies, and the Media in a Democratic Society” emphasized the importance of the Judiciary in a democracy.

He identified several fundamental issues the government must resolve for the judiciary to become strong and independent.

These included the merit-based appointment of justices/judges, security of justices/judges’ tenures, establishment/strengthening of state judicial councils, improved welfare of Judicial officers, sustenance of Judicial financial autonomy, while intimidation if judges must end

Justice Taiwo agreed, noting that poor remuneration for retired justices is a problem, particularly for federal judges.

He revealed that his total pension as a retired justice is below N500,000, an amount inadequate to meet his needs in the current poor economy.

Justice Taiwo said: “Federal judges are badly treated after retirement, compared to state judges. Lagos State has tried retired judges. Lagos gives retired judges allowances for life, buys them cars, and sends them gifts as if they’re in service.

“My take home every month is less than N500,000.”

The judge further noted that there is a symbiotic relationship between the judiciary and the press concerning information.

“One makes sure that the constitutional provision for freedom of information is enforced, the other disseminates the information as the case may be,” he said.

He emphasized the importance of the press in everyday life.

Justice Taiwo said: “We owe a lot to journalists because the government at times has to read (the papers) and come to terms with what the people are thinking and they can’t get the people’s feelings unless they read the papers and listen to the news. It is from there they’ll gauge the tempo.

“Unfortunately, in most cases, some governments don’t care. Whether the tempo is high or whether the country is in flames, they don’t care; they do what they want. History will judge everyone, including the governed and the government.”

Mr. Oyeyipo also made a case for strengthening the Judiciary, noting that it was critical to a constitutional democracy.

“There can’t be a democracy without the judiciary,” he said.

Mr. Otunfodunrin harped on the need for the Executive to understand the need for separation of powers, saying it is a key distinguishing factor between a democracy and a military regime.

Earlier, NAJUC Chairman Peter Fowoyo emphasized the importance of key sectors to fulfill their constitutional roles in the country’s interest.

He tasked the judiciary and security agencies on the name to step up their game.

Fowoyo said: “To birth a new Nigeria therefore, the judiciary, the security agencies, and indeed the media must not only identify their roles and play it accordingly, they must also work together for the betterment of all Nigerians.

“We thank the judiciary for the support given to us and the work they render to society. We believe that the third arm of government can do better in the dispensation of justice.

“To our security agencies, we wish to thank you all, not just for coming here today but, also for your commitment to ensure that our society is safe to live in. We dare say that you can do better if you work together as friends, not as foes.

“The President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has reiterated that you must share intelligence gathering and work together as a team. This cannot be overemphasized.”

The event also features the installation of Mr. Olatunji as a patron of NAJUC and Chief Felix Fagbohungbe SAN as a grand patron by Justice Taiwo.

Five NAJUC members who were Ranti Thomas, Innocent Anaba, Wale Igbintade, Akeem Ishola, and Joshua Morakinyo, were also conferred with honorary awards for their contributions to the association.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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