The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele has appealed to the National Assembly that in view of recent developments, there is need for the sum of 110 billion naira earmarked for the Judiciary to be increased.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, he said “I speak for the Judiciary, just before you dropped the gavel yesterday as we were confirming the nomination of eight Justices of Court of Appeal to serve as Justices of Supreme Court, you have said something, that there is the need to give more money to the Judiciary to be able to discharge their responsibilities”, adding that “110 billion naira has been earmarked for the Judiciary in the 2021 budget, this goes to show that it is either the Executive arm of Government or the budget office that sat down to put sectors inside envelope, either they don’t understand the magnitude of the problem in the Judiciary or they don’t feel that anything needs to be changed having eight additional Supreme Court Justices”.

In addition, he stated that there are 19 vacancies in the Court of Appeal that are yet to be filled and that Federal High Court and FCT High Court will equally be appointing Judges, noting that “these are issues that need to be addressed and this Senate set up a committee earlier in the year that made far reaching suggestions including the need for some intervention funds for the Judiciary.”

“Bringing a budget proposal to us for 2021 that does not even take into account all of these while Lawyers are filing cases and we are waiting for seven years before they can get a date for hearing in the Supreme Court or three to four years before they can get a date for hearing in the Court of Appeal, and we are making provisions in our budget and all these things are not taken into account…it does not show that anything is considered to worth the attention of those who planned this budget”, he said, further adding that it is hoped that same would be looked into by the Senate as an intermediary between the Executive Arm and the Judiciary.

In another development however, Senator Bamidele stated that he is delighted that there is an increase in the capital expenditure in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, “to the tune of 29%” adding that “it is the best so far” and it will drive capital infrastructural development.

Meanwhile, he noted that he is making a ‘special appeal’ to the leadership of the Senate that as the budget proposal is being approved, there is a need to have a reform in their minds.

“It is not enough to approve a budget, for instance, for the Defence sector without us asking certain questions. We have called on Mr. President (Buhari) to do something with regards to our Service Chiefs”, adding that it is not enough to approve a budget without asking questions or asking to be further briefed on “what has changed or what is changing”.

In addition, he stated that it is not enough to approve the Police budget without questioning what reform is being carried out.

Also, he noted that beyond changing the nomenclature of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the IGP, there is a need for a further enlightenment on what is going to be the operational lines of the new SWAT created by the IGP.

In addition, he further stressed on the need for Police reform to be carried out.

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