The Nigerian Bar Association says the continued dependence of the judiciary on the Executive arm of government for its funding has manifested in low morale and corruption among judicial workers across the country.
This, according to the members, forms the basis for which the Judiciary Workers Union, JUSUN is strongly asking for total financial autonomy to enable it to serve the public better.
They made this known in Awka the Anambra state capital during a peaceful protest and presentation of a position letter to Governor Willie Obiano at the Government House over the lingering strike by judiciary workers.
As an independent arm of government, the judiciary is saddled with the very important role of administration of justice as the fundamental feature of any democracy is its independence.
However, according to the NBA, where the autonomy of the arm Is shortchanged, it has grave implications for the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
Their Spokesperson, Mr Kingsley Awuka noted that the indisputable element of the independence of the judiciary is the extent of financial autonomy that it enjoys in the discharge of its constitutional functions and responsibilities.
According to Mr Awuka, the demand being made by JUSUN which the NBA unequivocally supports is therefore not alien to the country’s system of governance as true federalism comes alive through active implementation of the doctrine of separation of powers.
He regretted that despite all the interventions of relevant stakeholders towards enforcing the constitutional provisions including the Supreme Court judgment, the state has continued in the undemocratic practice of micromanaging the funds due to the judiciary in breach of the oath of office which requires the governor to uphold.
Mr Awuka said it was against the backdrop that the Nigeria Bar Association, a major stakeholder, decided to write a letter to the governor demanding that he immediately set in motion the process of implementing the financial autonomy of the state judiciary in the interest of democracy.
Receiving the letter on behalf of the governor, the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu commended the lawyers for their peaceful conduct, assuring them that the state government would pay attention to their position letter and demands.
He however noted that the state government was working out an arrangement with the judiciary on the financial autonomy, based on available resources while noting that the issue of judicial financial independence is a national issue and not state-driven.
He revealed that plans had been concluded to embark on the infrastructural upgrade of the facilities at the judiciary in the state to make it more conducive for the judges and lawyers to carry out their activities.