The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN has said that the Judiciary remained the “Bastion of the Common Man and the Fortress of all Men”. Hence, the independence of the Judiciary could only be deepened when Judiciary is enabled to function well in a conducive environment such that it would boost the morale of Judicial Personnel to dispense Justice in a most convenient and conducive environment.
The HAGF made this assertion in an address he delivered at the commissioning of the remodeled Sokoto State High Court of Justice Complex held on 12th April, 2021 at Sokoto State High Court of Justice Headquarters in Sokoto State undertaken by the state government.
The HAGF recalled that when His Excellency Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal took over as Governor of Sokoto State in 2015, the State High Court was in an obsolete state of disrepair undeserving to be reckoned with as a temple of justice.
“Therefore permit me to commend this giant stride and vision of His Excellency in establishing this edifice which is among the best in the country, and this has fulfilled the saying that justice must not only be said to be done, but must be seen to be done and dispensed in a conducive atmosphere”. He asserted.
The HAGF expressed great optimism that “with an ultramodern court complex furnished with state-of-the-art equipment both in the offices and court rooms, the business of the judiciary in Sokoto State in dispensing justice has been given an uplifted booster in the state”.
While pouring encomiums on the governor, the HAGF enthused “As a true Democrat, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has without mincing words, demonstrated his support for the on-going Federal Government drive for judicial autonomy/independence by commencing and completing the remodelling of this giant architectural structure that is now a cynosure of all eyes, which as well stands out as a clear manifestation of dividends of democracy in Sokoto State”.
“As a renowned Legal Practitioner and active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who has served the Nigerian Bar in diverse positions, and as a consummate former lawmaker and Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives, the revolutionary strides being played out in remodelling the Sokoto State High Court complex and in activating and paving way for independence of the Judiciary in Sokoto State is not by any stretch of imagination surprising. The Good people of Sokoto State must therefore be grateful to His Excellency the Governor”. The HAGF added.
In a similar vein, the HAGF noted that the National Assembly through the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution granted Financial Autonomy, through Section 121(3) of the Constitution to the Judiciary and Legislature at the State level, in order to strengthen them. In furtherance of the alteration, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2019 inaugurated the Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary which has led to the execution and emergence Executive Order 10 in order to ensure its implementation.
The HAGF emphasized that “for there to be sustenance of democracy through effective administration of Justice, Judges as the defenders of social justice and Lords of our judicial realm, as well as other judicial staff must be adequately taken care of by way of enhanced emolument and welfare packages, to enable them dispense justice at all times, without fear or favour, in an independent manner”.
“The Committee on the Review of Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service was constituted to ensure that welfare of our judicial officers reflect the current realities of our time. I am to assure this noble gathering that the efforts of the Committee will soon materialize for the good of our dear judicial officers and our country”. He further added.
The HAGF tasked the Sokoto State arm of Nigerian Judiciary to note that it owed the good people of Sokoto State a sacred duty to remain impartial, unbiased and resilient in all its judicial dealings and in upholding the cause of justice at all times.
He declared that the Judiciary remained a strong catalyst to modern day democracy. As such, great efforts towards the protection of democratic principles, such as the enforcement of rules of law, promotion of checks-and-balances, preservation of the principles of separation of powers, and proactive judicial activism became the bedrocks for sustainable democracy.
“Therefore, it is our concomitant wish that for all time to come in this Temple of Justice truth and righteousness shall prevail, that justice be done between man and man and dispensed without fear, or favour, and that freedom and rights of man be maintained and defended”. The HAGF concluded.
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