NBA ex-president seeks financial independence for judiciary

Augustine Alegeh, Former NBA President

Falana accuses senior lawyers of corruption

A former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN) has called for an urgent amendment of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.

He said the present situation where the executive arm of government still controls the finances of the judiciary is a dangerous signal for the country’s democracy.

Alegeh spoke at a lecture titled “Strengthening democracy in Nigeria: The role of the judiciary,” at the first Founder’s Day lecture of the Edo University, Iyamho, Edo State yesterday.

He said sections 81, 84,121 & 162 of the 1999 constitution as amended, “makes financial provisions for the judiciary” but are definitive in the autonomy of the judiciary in terms of finance.

“The provisions are supposed to give judiciary financial autonomy and full control over its own funds. However, these provisions appear couched in a manner that creates issues of compliance. Financial autonomy of the judiciary is the bedrock for a dynamic and pragmatic judiciary. The Executive is advised not to engage in any action that would undermine the financial autonomy of the judiciary to work out a practical way of ensuring financial autonomy of the judiciary.’’

Meanwhile, a senior advocate of Nigeria and former President of the West Africa Bar Association, Mr. Femi Falana, yesterday berated the leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), saying many senior lawyers have acquired reputation for corruption.

Falana, who was a discussant at the 10th Kehinde Sofola (SAN) memorial lecture in Lagos said the body has not done much to defend the rule of law. He also criticised the government for disobeying court orders.

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