The Senate Monday, declared that corruption thrives in the Nation’s judiciary on account of paucity of funds crippling its operations as regards dispensation of Justice.
The worrisome situation according to the Upper legislative Chamber, cannot even be salvaged by saints from heaven inform of Justices and Judges, if Special Intervention Fund is not made available for the arm of government to function effectively and efficiently.
Damning verdicts to these effect were made by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele ( APC Ekiti Central), in his closing remarks after confirmation hearing session the committee had with Hon Justice John Tsoho and Hon Justice Benedict Bakwaoh Kanyip.
Justice Tsoho nomination as Hon Chief Judge, Federal High Court and Justice Kanyip nomination as President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria , were forwarded to the Senate for confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Senator Bamidele in his remarks which dwelled on submissions made by the Justices during the confirmation hearing session said the Judiciary based on realities on ground as regards paucity of funds , is very vulnerable for compromise.
According to him, no democracy can grow or survive with a compromised Judiciary, the very reason, Nigeria Judiciary needs urgent Special Intervention Fund.
“The problem at hand is that Judiciary is Corrupt and it is time for Nigeria and Nigerians to rise up in rescuing it with adequate funding.
“As it is with the Nation’s Judiciary today, even if saints are appointed from heaven to serve as Justices and Judges , it is only strength of character that can prevent them from being Corrupt and dispense Justice as required,” he said.
He added that the issues are both moral and sociological which according to him, require extra budgetary provisions therapy.
Admitting the rot in the Judiciary, the Executive Secretary of the National Judicial Council ( NJC), Ahmed Gambo Saleh, in an interview with journalists after the session said : ” the welfare packages for judicial officers in this country is nothing to write home about . Judges salaries were last reviewed in 2007.”
He however added that if the so called corruption in the Judiciary is weighed against what is obtainable in other systems, Judiciary would be a saint.
Senator Bamidele who made the submissions in the presence of the two nominees and other Justices like Binta Nyako, Okon Abang etc , however commended President Muhammadu Buhari for increasing the budgetary provisions for the Judiciary on yearly basis.
” Within the last four years, budgetary provisions for the Judiciary have been experiencing marginal increases under the present administration but it is not yet Uhuru , the Special Intervention Fund must come first before consistent increase on annual basis,” he added.
Members of the Committee who attended the Confirmation hearing session are Senators Chukwuka Utazi, Gabriel Suswam, Bashiru Ajibola, Peter Nwaoboshi, Okey Jev and Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia .