ByÂ AbdulwahabÂ Abdulah & TonyÂ Edike
ENUGUâ€”Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Kutigi,Â yesterday stressed theÂ need for the various states of the federation toÂ adequately fund their state judiciary for efficient and fair dispensation of justice.
The CJN also emphasized that for the judiciary to remain relevant and the only true arbiter, the judges and judicial officers must be seen to be fair, honest and dispense their duty without any undue favoritism.
Justice Kutigi, who declared open the new multi million naira Enugu Division of the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Enugu state capital, said the court as a court of record is statutorily mandated and expected to play a major role in the resolution of industrial dispute in the country.
He said,Â â€œI cannot end this address without emphasizing the need for adequate funding of the state Judiciaries. A situation where there are no conducive courts halls, chambers for judges and offices for staff to function effectively is inimical to the realization of the set goals for the judiciary as enshrined in the constitution.
I am therefore, appealing to state Governors to consider appropriating and releasing adequate funds, both capital and recurrent, direct to the state judiciaries for the effective performance of the constitutional functions assigned to them.”
Acknowledging various developments that the Industrial court has witnessed under the leadership of Justice Babatunde Adejumo, the CJN said his wishes and prayers as the CJN â€œhas always been leave it better than I met it.â€
He called on the National Assembly to consider as priority while reviewing the constitution, to attend to salient issues in the judiciary, especially on the jurisdiction of some of the nationâ€™s court.
Earlier in his speech, President of the NIC, Justice Adejumo, said the steps he took in the establishment of the courts across the country was to satisfy the constitutional provision and the fulfillment of the rule of law to provide enabling environment for the settlement of disputes arising from labour related issues in the country.
Also, he said by establishing the new court in Enugu,Â Â time and money would be saved for the people of the five states in the geo-political zone to settle their labour disputes without hassle. He noted that soon, the Kano division of the court will be commissioned.
The Senate President, Senator David Mark and Speaker Dimeji Bankole, were represented at the occasion, while the state Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, said the commissioning ofÂ the Enuguâ€™s industrial court would enable the people of the state and its environ to settle any labour dispute without any bickering.
Both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives noted that â€œwith the purposeful direction of the Nigerian economy for excellent and quality service delivery, the increasing relevance of the National Industrial Court needs to be over-emphasized.
The courtâ€™s exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate on wide ranging labour and industrial disputes is meant to enhance the welfare of workers, the productivity and efficiency of organisations, as well industrial harmony in the sector.â€