By John Austin Unachukwu
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) has identified disregard for the Constitution by politicians as the greatest threat to the Judiciary.
The body stated this at a ceremony to mark the new legal year of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) at the court’s headquarters in Abuja.
Asiwaju Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who represented the body, said most state executives and appointing authorities frustrate the decisions of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the appointment of various heads of courts.
He argued that by Section 158 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the NJC was not subject to any direction or control when carrying out its duties.
He called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to seek judicial interpretations on the issue.
”A better alternative to the present system of appointment of judicial officers would be for the NJC to directly send the names of the intended judges and justices to the Legislative Arm, and thereafter the individuals should be appointed by the Executive and not with the reverse scenario as presently obtainable,” Awomolo said.
This alternative, he explained, would help checkmate the incessant undermining of the NJC’s recommendations as the NJC has the preferred qualification for that,” Awomolo stated.
According to him, the Executive Arm of government is deliberately frustrating the course of justice by withholding funds meant for the Judiciary. He backed his claim by citing the recent outcry by some retired judicial officers for their pension.
Awomolo commended the president of the court, for the accelerated application and deployment of information technology software, leading to speedy disposition of cases, as well as the timely intervention of the court in industrial disputes.
He said this justified the wisdom in creating the court as a specialised court. The SAN called for the creation of more specialised courts, to meet ever-growing demands.
Awomolo noted that over the years there have been an increasing admittance of respected individuals into the highly-coveted rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), with this year having 166 applicants shortlisted from 200.
According to BOSAN, there is no harm in admitting more individuals with unquestionable character and integrity into the Inner Bar without compromising the standard of the Bar.