There was a mid-drama at the Edo State Government House, Benin, on Monday as security operatives prevented lawyers under the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, in Edo from entering the office wherein they went to submit letter calling for financial autonomy for the judiciary.
The members led by the Chairman, Benin branch of NBA, Pius Oiwoh, were drawn from Igarra, Auchi, Uromi and Ekpoma branches of the NBA
The members led by the Chairman, Benin branch of NBA, Pius Oiwoh were drawn from Igarra, Auchi, Uromi and Ekpoma branches of the NBA.
After waiting for over one hour, the lawyers matched to Edo State Council Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, where Oiwoh told journalists that their visit to government house was on the directive of the national president of the NBA, Olumide Akpata (who incidentally is from the state) that they should present their letter of appeal to the governor to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.
He said, “We went there not on a protest. we were there on the directive of the NBA national leadership, but they told us that for security reasons we cannot enter the government house and that all the principal officers in government house were not around.
“I do not want to believe that the Governor ordered what they did to us. However, after staying for over one hour, we decided to pull out of the place but by Monday next week, we will repeat the visit because that is the directive from the national leadership of the NBA that we continuously visit government house with the letter of appeal that is urging the Government to comply with the constitution.
“You will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2020 issued the Executive Order 10 mandating the Accountant General of the federation to commence deduction from source, the funds accruing to the state judiciaries in the Consolidated Revenue Funds of the states and transfer same to the relevant heads of courts in line with the dictates of the Constitution.
“We are very eager to see that the judiciary enjoys financial autonomy and once the judiciary enjoys financial autonomy, there will also be judicial independence.” he said.
In his response, chairman of the NUJ, Sir Roland Osakwe commended the efforts of the lawyers, assuring that journalists supports the move for financial autonomy for the judiciary.