The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA in Kogi state has called on the State Government to grant the state Judiciary financial autonomy in line with Section 121(3) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The chairman of NBA, Lokoja branch, Mr. Liman Salihu, made the call in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday in Lokoja.
He called on Gov. Yahaya Bello to solve the lingering issue of financial independence for the third arm of government in the state in line with his stance on the Rule of Law and Due Process.
He argued that Section 121(3) of the constitution provides that: “Any amount standing to the credit of the Judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state shall be paid directly to the heads of courts concerned.”
According to him, the essence of the provision is to enhance speedy dispensation of cases and matters before the courts, improvement of facilities, adequate welfare of judicial staff and reduction of corruption and undue influence.
The NBA chairman said that there was a subsisting court order directing the state to comply with the provision, adding that the previous administration also reached an agreement with the state chapter of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN on compliance.
He therefore, urged the governor to comply with the constitutional provision and implement the subsisting agreement between JUSUN and the Government on the matter.
Salihu also commended the state government for abolishing Joint Allocation Account Committee, JAAC, for Local Governments in the state to pave way for financial autonomy of the councils.
He said that financial autonomy for the councils would enable them to meet their constitutional obligations of grassroots development, payment of council workers and primary school teachers salaries.
According to the NBA chairman, the previous practice of deducting monies from councils’ allocations at the Ministry of Local Government led to paucity of funds resulting in percentage payment of workers’ salaries.
He described the percentage payment as “completely unconstitutional, unacceptable and embarrassing to the system”
Also, he commended Bello for implementing the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which ordered the reinstatement of the 21 Local Government chairmen in the state sacked by a Koton-Karfe High Court on December 8, 2014.
“Observance of the Rule of Law is the hallmark of Nigeria’s constitution and for democracy to thrive, public officers must always adhere to the rule of law”, he stressed.


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