No democracy can survive without being founded on the rule of law and independent judiciary.
This submission was made by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, while answering questions from reporters in Abuja over the ongoing Judiciary workers industrial action.
Senate Bamidele urged the 36 Governors to grant autonomy to judiciary, insisting that autonomy for judiciary is non-negotiable.
He said it is laughable to be grappling with judicial autonomy at this stage of the nation’s development.
“The National Assembly has been making laws that would guarantee full autonomy to the judiciary at the Federal level.
“The National Assembly does not make laws for the states; such power resides in the state Houses of Assembly.
“Judiciary at the Federal Capital Territory is independent because we have done what we are supposed to do.
“What is next is for the State Houses of Assembly to do what they are supposed to do.
“As a principle, as a policy, members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, have tried not to call on those who are protesting to stop such protests.
“We do not want protests but definitely, we would rather talk more to State Governors, Houses of Assembly and other stakeholders to do the needful in the overriding public interest.
“We cannot continue to call on the judiciary to give peace a chance when we know the conditions under which they work cannot guarantee a passionate and enhanced delivery of justice.
“This is central and crucial to the independence of the judiciary in this country. We must not be left behind by the rest of the civilized world.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) carried out a nationwide protests today to compel Governor’s to obey the 1999 constitution (as amended) and Executive Order 10 which granted autonomy to judiciary in the country.
In solidarity, Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) marched to their respective State Government Houses and Houses of Assembly with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria to press home their demands of Judicial autonomy.
The Chairman Ikeja Branch of the association in Lagos, Bartholomew Aguebodo, said the collaboration is in line with the directive of the National President, Olumide Akpata to all state branches to be part of the protest.
During the protest, the lawyers who displayed placards with various inscriptions took off from Ikeja Bar Centre and marched through Oba Akinjobi, into Obafemi Awolowo Way towards Alausa secretariat.