By Dayo Benson

Amid growing clamours for Judiciary independence, former  President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN) has added his voice, urging  the National Assembly to amend the 1999 constitution and grant financial autonomy to the judiciary. He  cautioned  that the current situation whereby the executive controls the finances of the judiciary  poses a danger to  the nation’s democracy.

Alegeh made his position known in a  lecture he delivered titled “Strengthening Democracy in Nigeria: The Role of the Judiciary”, at the first Founder’s Day Lecture of the Edo state University, Iyamho, Edo State. The immediate past NBA boss pointed out that sections 81, 84,121 & 162 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), “make financial provisions for the judiciary.

“The provisions are supposed to give judiciary financial autonomy and full control over its own funds. However, these provisions appear couched in a manner that creates issues of compliance. Financial autonomy of the judiciary is the bedrock for a dynamic and pragmatic judiciary. The Executive is advised not to engage in any action that would undermine the financial autonomy of the judiciary to work out a practical way of ensuring financial autonomy of the judiciary to work out a practical way of ensuring financial autonomy for the judiciary.

“There is need for the provisions of the 1999 constitution to be amended to give a more definitive provision for how funds due to the judiciary are to be determined and ascertained.

A nation with a strengthened and vibrant judiciary will witness a renewed confidence by the citizenry in the justice delivery system, a reduction in crime rate, a decongestion of the prisons as well as increase in the revenue generation of the state and all these will strengthen our democracy” he said.

In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof.Emmanuel Aluyor, stated that the vision of the university was to become a center of excellence in quality teaching, research,   innovations and community development.

“I want to put on record that the National Universities Commission (NUC) on the 18th January, 2017, after a successful verification exercise approved additional programmes in Engineering, Medicine, Basic Medical Sciences and Mass Communication” he stated.

Other dignitaries at the event includes Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by his Deputy Philip Shaibu, immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole,   chairman of the University Governing Council, Prof.Pat Utomi and many others.

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