By Muyiwa Bamidele
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele ( APC Ekiti Central) has kicked against the proposed deduction of 11 Billion Naira from the 110 Billion Naira allocatee to the Judiciary in the 2020 Appropriation Act as Senate reviews the revised through an Amendment Bill proposed by the executive arm of the federal government following the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic.
Senator Bamidele opposed the downward review of the Judiciary allocation during the debate on general principles of the revised 2020 Appropriation amendment bill on the floor of the red chamber on Thursday.
President Muhammad Buhari in a letter to the National Assembly is asking the Senate to reverse earlier Appropriation Act from N10.594 trillion to N10.509 trillion
To this end, out of the sum of N85billion reduced from the earlier approved 2020 budget, a sum of N11billion is to be deducted from the N110billion statutory votes allocated to the Judiciary in the previous budget.
Senator Bamidele, in kicking against the proposal, said the earlier budgetary allocation of N110billion given to the Judiciary was not even, in any way, enough to drive efficiency within this whole arm of government, let alone, N99billion to which it is now being reduced.
“Mr President and Distinguished Colleagues, the Budget of the judiciary is about just one percent of the entire Budget of this Country, the judiciary is an arm of government, the third arm of government. Regardless of what may be informing this adjustment, to have the Budget of the judiciary reduced from 110 Billon, which was a paltry sum in the first instance, to N99 Billion does not show a through understanding by the bureaucrats who did the adjustment of the workings of the judiciary and the fact that even when we are talking of COVID 19 and its challenges, the judiciary also has its own share of additional responsibilities.”
The Ekiti Central Senator informed the upper chamber that the Judiciary and Justice sector have a lot of work to do as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“There are enforcement issues, including human rights violations and various other issues that the judiciary is having to deal with and which the justice sector has to deal with. Also, while COVID 19 is going on, issues of insecurity on a daily basis also generate more work for the judiciary”.
“As we speak, we have over 5,000 detained insurgency suspects who are awaiting trial and it means more work for the judiciary. Essentially Mr President, I am strongly of the opinion that the Budget of the judiciary should be left intact, adopting the same principle that was adopted in considering the appropriation to the Health sector and Agriculture sector”.
He insisted that reducing the budgetary allocation of the Judiciary by N11 billion as proposed in the bill would mean so much damage and challenge to the justice sector and Judicial sector.
“So, in supporting this bill, Mr President, I want to emphasize very strongly that this parliament would be doing Nigerians a lot of good by ensuring that the Budget of the judiciary as originally proposed and appropriated by this parliament is left intact.”
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