Minna – The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Minna branch, has warned state governments to comply with the Federal High Court’s ruling and steer clear of funds meant for the judiciary.
The NBA Chairman, Mr Jonathan Taidi, who gave the warning in Minna, said that failure to comply with the judgment of the court would amount to contempt of court.
He urged the offices of Attorneys-General and Commissioners for Justice to appropriately advise their respective governments.
Taidi said that the 1999 constitution was clear on direct funding to the judiciary without any interference by the executive.
“Ordinarily, there is no need for the litigation at all. The 1999 constitution has clearly stated its position on the funding of the judiciary.
“What we are now saying is that the executive should, in the interest of the constitution under section 212, comply with the judgment with effect from January.
“If not, we will go after the accountants-general and attorneys-general of the states in court for contempt.”
The NBA chairman noted that the independence of the judiciary was not negotiable, and as such, the executive should not for any reason, interfere with funds allocated to it.
He noted that of the 36 states, only Bayelsa and Nasarawa had complied with the provision of the law as enshrined in the constitution by funding their respective state judiciaries directly from the Federation Account allocation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that national body of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had last year filed a suit against the 36 state governors and their respective attorneys-general.
The case was later transferred from the Federal High Court in Minna to an Abuja Federal High Court.
The court, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Adeyemi, on Jan. 13, 2014, ruled that state governments had no business interfering with allocation to the state judiciaries, across the country, and therefore, should stay away from it, henceforth. (NAN)