Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has urged the judiciary to be more transparent in the utilization of budgetary allocation on its financial expenses.

Malami remarked that the judiciary has consistently lamented poor funding and yet no one can tell how the money allocated to them was been expended.

He therefore submitted that for the issue of inadequate funding to be addressed in the judiciary, there must be a system in place that will allow the financial books to be opened.

“The starting point is transparency and accountability. Let the books be opened,” he said.

According to the AGF, even though the budgetary allocation of the judiciary is higher than that of the National Assembly, the lawmakers seem to be better off than the judiciary, “so there is the need to know how much is provided and how it is applied”.

“The same way that the executive opens its books for public scrutiny, the same way the legislators and the judiciary should open theirs,” he stated.

On the issue of appointment of judges, Malami advocated the need for a legislation that will remove all bottlenecks that take away merit in the process of selecting and appointing judicial officers.

He maintained that the current guidelines used in selecting and appointing judges promote incompetence, adding that the consideration of federal character principle further robs the bench of merit when appointments are been made.

Speaking on the financial autonomy for the judiciary, Malami recalled several efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure that the judiciary is truly independent, citing Executive Order 10 among others, which he regretted is been challenged in court.

He however called for consensus building among the three arms of government to realize the independence of the judiciary.

A handy text for not only lawyers, arbitrators, and judges, but also as major reference material for industry players including architects, builders, civil and structural engineers, quantity surveyors, and project managers, among others.

Written By Ewuwuni Onnoghen-Theophilus (Mrs.), LL.M, MCIArb.

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