WorldStage Newsonline-- A Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) chief has rated Nasarawa and Bayelsa as the only states with independent judiciary out of the 36 states in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Ilorin branch of the NBA, Mobolaji Ojibara who addressed journalists on Monday in Ilorin as part of activities to mark the biennial Law Week celebration of the NBA, canvassed for the independence of the judiciary, saying only a virile, fearless and independent judiciary can guarantee lasting democracy, law and order in the country.
The theme of NBA week is "A centenary of legal practice in Nigeria Nigeria, 1914-2014: Legacies and Lessons for the next Century".
The NBA chairman, who charged governments of other states of the federation to emulate Nasarawa and Bayelsa states by giving the judiciary financial autonomy and the required independence to function effectively, added that it was not proper for one arm of government to go cap-in-hand to survive as it is the case with the state judiciary.
"Survival of the state judiciary should not be dependent on their relationship with another arm of government, which is the executive," he said.
He charged the Kwara state government to "look into the issue of funding of the judiciary and make it self-accounting".
He said: "While the bar extols with great admiration the cordial relationship amongst various arms of government in the state, and particularly the continued support which the state government has offered the judiciary, we urge the Governor to take the bold step by securing the independence of the state judiciary through granting of financial autonomy and a full self-accounting status.
“The constitution is very clear on what it is required for the independence of each and every arm of the government. It is not appropriate that any arm of the government will be going caps in hand in order to survive.
“I think the survival or existence of an arm of government particularly the judiciary must not be dependent on existence of good relationship with any other arm, particularly the executive for it to survive.
“The constitution is very clear. It requires articulating the full accounting status for the judiciary. The government only needs to look into the constitution and apply the portion of the constitution.”
He hailed the efforts of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in sanitizing the judiciary and ridding it of corruption, adding that the bar is complementing the CJN's efforts by punishing erring lawyers towards ensuring that the system is corruption-free.
He said “we should support her efforts in our own way. Let us eradicate corruption even in our little corners and from wherever we belong to. At the appropriate time our efforts will bring the appropriate result to the system.”
The week-long programme continues on today with key note lectures to be delivered by Chairman, Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu and Professor Ademola Popoola while the session is to be chaired by former President Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami.