By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Monday, said that the annual budgetary allocation of N110 billion to the federal judiciary was grossly inadequate in the dispensation of justice.
It also said there was an urgent need to implement the electronic filing of court processes and automation of the courts just as it also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of additional 8 justices of the Supreme Court.
The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Onofioke Luke made the observations during a budget defence session with the National Judicial Council, NJC, the Supreme Court and other lower courts in the country.
He said: “It is worrisome to note that the 2021 Budget Estimates for the Judiciary in the sum of One Hundred and Ten Billion Naira (N110,000,000,000.000) only, which represents Statutory Transfer to the Judiciary, is inadequate in view of current realities.
”The Committee will engage the Leadership of the House, and indeed the National Assembly for more funds for the Judiciary to address the observed and obvious challenges of the judiciary for expedited and efficient dispensation of justice in the country.
“The destruction of court by hoodlums that hijacked the EndSARS protest has once again brought to fore the exigency of automating our court system right from the filing process to judgement delivery.
”The incident has led to loss of some vital court documents in some courts, which will stall several lawsuits and trials.
”There is urgent need to implement electronic filing of court process, electronic recording and transcription of court proceedings and electronic collection of judgment and having a central saver that backs up court processes and documents and synchronise data across all remote locations. This will expedite justice delivery and forestall loss of court documents.
“The Committee wishes to commend the President for the appointment of 8 Justices of the Supreme Court, thereby raising the number of justices to 20, which will help in fast-tracking administration and delivery of justice.
”The background and wealth of experience of the appointed Justices is also commended while we appeal to the President to see the need to immediately fill the vacant positions in the Court of Appeal.”