The House of Representatives Committee on Federal Judiciary has paid a familiarization visit to the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
Meanwhile, the Federal Judicial Service Commission has said that the commission is one of the 14 Federal Executive Bodies established by Section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The Secretary to the Commission, Bassey E. Bassey, made this remark on Wednesday when the House Committee visited the Commission.
Bassey restated their duties, functions and powers of the commission to the House Committee on Federal Judiciary since they were visiting for the first time since they assumed office.
He said “The Commission is a body lawfully constituted and charged with the responsibility of administering the affairs and control of the Judiciary which is an arm of the government.
“The role of the Commission in the area of appointment, promotion and discipline of non judicial staff, therefore the functions carried or expected of the Commission so as to ensure that there is an effective and efficient judicial system to ensure fair and proper administration of justice of the people.
He went further to mention the composition and the functions of the Commission.
“Paragraph 12 part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, stipulates the composition of Federal Judicial Service Commission as follows:
The Federal Judicial Service Commission shall comprise the following members:
1.The Chief Justice of Nigeria, who shall be the Chairman;
2. The President of the Court of Appeal;
3. The Attorney-General of the Federation;
4. The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court;
5. The President of the National Industrial Court;
“As clearly spelt out in paragraph 13 part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, Federal Judicial Service Commission has power to advise the National Judicial Council in nominating persons for appointments to the office of : the Chief Justice of Nigeria, a Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, a Judge of the Federal High Court, the President of the National Industrial Court; a judge of the National Industrial Court; and the Chairman and Members of the Code of Conduct Tribunal,
“To Recommend to the National Judicial Council the removal of any of the Judicial Officers mentioned above.
“Appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the Chief Registrars and Deputy Chief Registrars of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court and all other members of the staff of the Judicial Service of the Federation not otherwise specified in this Constitution and of the Federal Judicial Service Commission,” Bassey stated.
Furthermore, in his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Federal Judiciary, Hon. Onofiok Luke expressed the determination of the House to synergise with the Commission towards efficient justice system in the country as contained in the third schedule of the Constitution.
He said; “We are here on a familiarisation visit to acquaint ourselves with the workings of the Commission, the modus operandi and equally the challenges posed and whatever the Commission feel to share with the legislature to make the legislature assist the Commission to realize it’s core mandate.
“The House under the leadership of Femi Gbajabiamila has stated clearly the need for justice sector reform and that is well captured in the legislative agenda. We know the response of the Federal Judiciary Service Commission in ensuring the much talked about Judicial sector reform.
“We are equally here to hear from the Commission in the areas the legislature can help strengthen the Commission so as to deliver on its core mandate. Let us use this opportunity to appreciate the Commission in ensuring discipline in the judiciary.
“The Commission in its advisory role as enshrined in the constitution to the National Judicial Service Council (NJC) has ensured that men and women of proven integrity and character are nominated as heads of Federal Courts in the country.
“This Committee commends the Commission for its effective and effective exercise of it’s responsibility. We said this in the light of the recent appointment into the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal, Office of the Justice of the High Court and President of the National Industrial Court. The persons you advised NJC to appoint they have proven to be men of character and intellect.
“We know that the world has changed, things are no more the same because of the COVID-19 pandemic that we are faced with. It is the thinking of this Committee that we are open, we want to partner with the Commission so that the Commission in conjunction with any arm of the Judiciary can create an enabling working environment for Judicial Staff and equally have partnership with the JUSUN so that we can have an effective and efficient Judicial system performing in the post COVID-19 era.
“We in the judiciary has made commitment, if there are areas that need Constitional amendment to make sure that the judiciary is well positioned to discharge justice in this post COVID-19 era the Committee on Judiciary and the entire legislature will do it’s best so that we reposition judiciary for quick and equitable dispensation of justice in the post COVID-19 era.
“We heard clamour from JUSUN about the stress they have to encounter in coming to the two exam centres. If it is possible, decentralization be taken to the different zones. The examination centre be decentralized to six geopolitical zones so that they can have easy access to do their exams.”