… says ‘independence of three arms of govt’ll strengthen democracy’
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that the state government will continue to obey and respect the relevant section of the 1999 constitution on judicial autonomy.
The governor gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by executive members and elders of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Edo State chapter at the Government House, Benin City.
He said the autonomy and independence of the three arms of Government is best for Nigeria’s democratic system, noting that his administration has continued to obey and respect the relevant section of the 1999 constitution on judicial autonomy.
“The issue of judicial autonomy and independence should not be in question or in doubt, as the functionality of the three arms of arms of government independently is best for Nigeria’s democratic system.
“I have listened to your presentation and wondered what the real issues are. But I think it is one of communication. It is not in the best interest of our democratic system for the three arms of government not to be independent and autonomous as one has to check over the other. The issues of autonomy and independence should not be in question or doubt.”
According to him, “Section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution states clearly that any amount and outstanding to the credit of the Judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund shall be paid directly to the head of the courts concerned; it is clear. In Edo State, that is what we do for the legislature, judiciary and the local governments.”
“We have no issues with judicial autonomy but we need to state, understand and interpret the provision of the constitution and begin to adapt to them,” he added.
Obaseki said his administration and the Edo State chapter of the NBA can almost be described as one, as both have become partners in moving the judiciary forward, adding, “Our administration is full of members of the NBA. The government and the NBA can be described as one in Edo State.”
On his part, Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the NBA, Pius Oiwoh, said: “We are here to present the issue of judicial autonomy. We have been canvassing and agitating over time for financial autonomy for the judiciary across the country. We are here to present a letter as directed by the National Secretariat of the NBA.
“It is going to be a continuous engagement so that the provision of section 121 sub section 3 of the constitution, which makes provision for financial autonomy of the judiciary, will be guaranteed and complied with. We have heard from his Excellency and are satisfied.”