Luke Advocates Improved Welfare of Judicial Officers and staff
Member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency and Chairman House, Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke has charged the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) to work on improving the welfare of judicial officers and staff in the country.
Luke stated this when he led some members of the House Judiciary committee on a working visit to the Federal Judicial Service Commission in Abuja, today. He reiterated that an improved welfare for the officers and staff will help the Judicial officers and staff function more efficiently and effectively in delivering justice without fear or favour.
“The House under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has stated clearly the need for the justice sector reform which is well captured in the legislative agenda of the house. Let me appreciate this Commission in ensuring discipline in the judiciary. The Commission in its advisory role as enshrined in the constitution to the National Judicial Council (NJC) has ensured that men and women of proven integrity and character are nominated as heads of Federal Courts in the country”. Luke said
He also called for the decentralization of Examination centers for promotional exams for judicial staff. He lamented how the current public health situation has posed a challenge to many judiciary staff who are scheduled to take the examinations.
“We know that the world has changed, things are no more the same because of the COVID-19 that we are faced with. It is the thinking of this Committee that we are open towards partnering with the Commission so that the Commission in conjunction with any arm of the Judiciary can create an enabling working environment for Judicial Staff and equally have partnership with the JUSUN so that we can have an effective and efficient Judiciary system performance in the post COVID-19 era”. Luke added.
He commended the FJSC for its effective exercise of it’s responsibility. He said this in the light of the recent appointment into the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal, Office of the Justice of the High Court and President of the National Industrial Court.
The Lawmaker appealed to the FJSC to advice the National Judicial Council on the need to appoint more justices into the Supreme Court. This he believes will relieve the limited number of justices of the Supreme Court of the huge burden of dispensing justice placed on them. According to Luke, this burden created by the shortage of Justices at that level have had untold consequences on their health and the overall health of the justice delivery system in the country.
Responding, Secretary of the FJSC, Bassey E. Bassey expressed concern on the budget size of the Commission. He said, “this year our budget is the least, very small and inspite of operational activities, our budget was extremely small”.
“The budget has always been an issue. In 2019 the budget was N100 billion and we have the 2020 slightly above the one of 2019 which is N110 billion. Taking into consideration some of the priority areas like appointment of Justices of Supreme Court. Supreme Court as at today has 12 Members and they are over working themselves” . Bassey said.
The Committee reassured the FJSC of its total support and partnership to enable it function optimally.