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Anambra NBA protests, demands financial autonomy for judiciary

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Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Anambra State, yesterday, held a peaceful demonstration at the Government House, Awka, demanding financial autonomy and independence of the judiciary.

They lamented the worsening conditions of the judiciary, saying that the court-rooms are in a mess, judges sit without their robes, lawyers sit without proper attire while magistrates take turns to officiate for lack of infrastructure.

The state NBA Chairman, Kingsley Awuka, who spoke on behalf of the eight branches in the state, said the protest was not about the legal body or lawyers, but the common man.

Awuka said they were at the Government House to submit another copy of the letter previously sent to the governor, which did not receive any response.

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He expressed worry that the governor, who is supposed to ensure that the judicial arm of government is strengthened beyond what’s obtainable in other states, is doing nothing in that regard.

According to him, the governor has the capacity to meet with their demand, and does not need to wait for the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to take action, adding that he was elected on merit.

“We are here today because of the silence the governor gave to our press release where we appealed to him considering the peculiar situation of the state and that his APGA-led government is a product of judicial independent and bravery.

“For the past one month, our courts have been under lock and insecurity in the state has heightened. If any of the suspects are arrested, where will they be taken and tried? The judicial branch of government is dead.

“We are not here to embarrass the government. It is not about the NBA or lawyers. It’s about the common man, everybody, including the governor himself.

“Election is around the corner and other matters that would require judicial interventions will soon come up. We wonder where people will go when the time comes,” Awuka noted.

In his response, Secretary to the State Government in Anambra, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, said that government is working out an arrangement with the judiciary on the financial autonomy based on available resources.

While commending the lawyers for conducting themselves peacefully during the protest, he promised to deliver their letter promptly to the governor.

The SSG, however, reminded that judicial independence is a national issue and not under the state.

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