The Senate Tuesday mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to go ahead with the probe of the crisis in the Judiciary by looking into the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.
It also tasked the committee to interface with the three arms of government, as well as at the Bar and on the Bench to collate aggregate views and positions on the short term, medium term and long term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary.
In a leaked memo, some 14 court justices accused the ex-CJN of denying the jurists their legitimate entitlements.
Some of the major issues raised by the jurists include non-replacement of poor vehicles, poor accommodation, lack of drugs at the Supreme Court Clinic and poor electricity supply to the apex court.
The rest are increase in electricity tariff, little or no increase in the allowances for diesel and lack of internet services to residences and chambers of the justices among others.
And in his reply to the petition, Justice Tanko explained that while he was able to meet some of the demands, including the provision of SUV cars, others could not be met owing to economic meltdown.
And in its intervention, the Senate said it would press on in its effort at probing what went wrong where, with a view to proffering solutions.
Such measures, the red chamber resolved, must include the immediate fiscal intervention as well as long term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion brought to the floor by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).
Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022, as amended, Senator Bamidele recalled that Senate President Ahmad Lawan, last week, drew the attention of the chamber to media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He noted that poor welfare of judicial officers would adversely affect the output of Judiciary in service delivery.
According to the lawmaker, “the Judiciary, which is the epicenter of the temple of justice, should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed.”
He stated that the committee, in taking steps to look into the matter as directed by the Senate President, has started the process of making arrangement to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and on the Bench.
The lawmaker also said the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed, on Sunday 27th June, 2022, “will not prevent the committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.”
Opeyemi noted that, “even though Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammed has stepped down as CJN, most of the Issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the Judiciary still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual shut down of the Judiciary.”