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Nigerian Judiciary is yet to be independent - CJN

"This is a clarion call to the other two arms of government to make the funding of the Judiciary a major priority..."

President Muhammadu Buhari swears in CJN Kayode Ariwoola. [Twitter:Presidency]

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has disclosed that the Nigerian Judiciary is “yet to be free or truly independent” as the third arm of government.

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Justice Ariwoola made the disclosure in a speech he delivered to mark the commencement of the court’s 2022/23 Legal Year and swearing-in of newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Monday, November 28, 2022.

What Ariwoola said: According to the CJN, while the Judiciary “to a very large extent, is independent in conducting its affairs and taking decisions on matters before it without any extraneous influence”, the same cannot be said in the area of its finance.

“Nevertheless, I will make it clear to whoever that cares to listen that when the Nigerian Judiciary is assessed from the financial aspect, we are yet to be free or truly independent. The annual budget of the Judiciary is still a far cry from what it ought to be. The figure is either stagnated for a long period of time or it goes on a progressive decline when placed side by side with the current realities in the market.

“The only thing I can do at this juncture, is to plead with the other arms of government and allied agencies to clear all the impediments so we can enjoy our independence holistically. This is a clarion call to the other two arms of government to make the funding of the Judiciary a major priority.”

What you should know: The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government had recently approved an immediate improvement in the welfare of judicial officers.

The approval, when effected, would be the first in nearly 14 years in the salaries of judges and would be coming about four months after the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja made an order to that effect.

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