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Buhari’s aide tasks state CJs, court heads on autonomous judiciary

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
01 October 2021   |   3:07 am
Secretary, Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of States’ Legislature and Judiciary, Senator Ita Enang, has urged state Chief Judges (CJs) and Head of Courts to be cautious

Senator Ita Enang

Secretary, Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of States’ Legislature and Judiciary, Senator Ita Enang, has urged state Chief Judges (CJs) and Head of Courts to be cautious and diligent in the implementation of the autonomous judiciary.

Enang, who is also Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, made the call while presenting a paper at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) roundtable on effective court administration in Abuja.

“I appreciate the NJI for the privilege to address judges on the patent fears and banana peels over the autonomy of the judiciary.

“The best and error-proof process as provided in the Judiciary (Funds Management) Law passed by the state Houses of Assembly and signed by the governors was to guide the operations and application of funds for accountability by the judiciary,” he said.

Enang admonished them to reference the Fund Management Law and Bills pending consideration in the state Houses of Assembly, as well as inputs of judges through their chief registrars at public hearings or chamber consultations.

“Where there is a lacuna not covered by the Funds Management Laws, or the convention in other arms of government in any matter arising in course of implementation of financial autonomy, fall back to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and judicial bodies at the Federal level in the fund management process.

“From budget conception, there should be an agreement with the Budget Office, inclusion in annual appropriation, as will be laid before the National Assembly, defence before the mandate committees, passage, assent, release to the Judiciary account, syndication to the heads of courts by the NJC headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and advertisement for procurement,” he said.

During the roundtable, some of the chief judges observed that the present budgetary system was inhuman and stressed the need for a more realistic approach to budgeting.

Other issues they raised dwelt on the need to make input at the budgeting level and the process of approval into cash.

While wishing them success on the implementation of judicial autonomy, Enang urged the judicial officers to start early procurement processes pending the release of funds.