The Federal Government has concluded plans to assert the independence of the legislature and judiciary in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It has therefore fixed retreat next week at the State House Conference Center, Abuja to deliberate and articulate an effective national implementation strategy in the matter, between 16th and 17th of May.
Briefing newsmen on the activities of the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary chaired by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate) who is also the Secretary of the panel, Ita Enang, said the committee has concluded its assignment.
“The monitoring thus far, per the findings of the Committee is that there is spending on the Legislature and the Judiciary and for the Legislature and Judiciary.
“The intendment of the retreat is to ensure that the full import and purpose of the Constitution which is release of sums due to the Legislature and the Judiciary to the heads of these Arms of Government to be disbursed and applied by them in accordance with approved budget,” Enang said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in March inaugurated a Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary, in accordance with the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
The committee is to drive the actualisation of the autonomy granted to the legislature and judiciary at the state level.
The committee is chaired by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with Enang, acting as Secretary.
The committee has representatives of state judiciary, such as Justice N. Ajanah, Chief Judge of Kogi State and Justice K. Abiri, Chief Judge of Bayelsa.
Other members are Khadi Abdullahi Maikano Usman, Grand Khadi, Gombe State Sharia Court of Appeal and Justice Abbazih Musa Sadeeq, Ag. President of the FCT Customary Court of Appeal.
State legislatures are represented by: Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, as well as Abel Peter Riah, Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly.
The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria is represented by Marwan Mustapha Adamu while Comrade Bala Hadi represents the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria in the committee.
Other members of the committee are , Musa Mustapha Agwai, Body of Chairmen of Houses of Assembly Service Commissions, Senator David Umaru; Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, Aminu Shagari, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Judiciary, The Accountant General of the Federation, and the Secretary of the National Judicial Council.
Director General of the Nigerian Governors Forum or such other representative as the Forum may wish to nominate; Chairman of the Forum of Finance Commissioners in Nigeria; President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, and Chike Adibuah representing Civil Society Organizations are members.
The committee terms of reference is to assess and review the level of compliance by all the 36 States of the Federation with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Monitor, ensure and cause the implementation of Financial Autonomy across the Judiciary and Legislature of the 36 States and to consult and relate with the appropriate Federal and State MDAs.
Ensure and where necessary enforce the implementation of constitutional provision; and to come up with appropriate modality or model to be adopted by all the States of the Federation for implementation and/ or compliance with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).