The 13-man Steering Committee set up by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to undertake a holistic review of the operations of the country’s Judiciary, submitted it’s report over the weekend.
The Chairman of the Committee and Secretary of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), Bilkisu Bashir, while submitting the Committee’s report, said that her committee interacted with several critical stakeholders, including retired Chief Justices of Nigeria, as well as serving and retired Justices and Judges to arrive at resolutions in line with the terms of reference.
“The Committee was inaugurated on the 5th June 2017 with a time frame of one month. Though we asked and His Lordship graciously granted time extension, we just touched the surface. Our belief is that this report is only but a scratch. It is something that His Lordship will work with and improve upon. From the discussions we had with the stakeholders, it is obvious that everyone wants to key into this reform programme of the Hon CJN. Committee members contributed immensely. Arguments for and against were very educative and instructive. We thank you for the opportunity you gave to us to contribute to the good of the Federal Judiciary and to the Nigerian Judiciary as a whole”, she said in a student signed by Awassam Bassey,
Senior Special Assisistant on media to the CJN.
The CJN in his remarks commended the committee for a good job and said their names will be written in gold when the reforms they recommended begin bearing fruit in making Nigeria’s Judiciary the best in the world.
“At least, it is our duty to lay the first foundation for solving our problem; nobody can come from outside to salvage the Nigerian Judiciary. The solution must come from within us. We have to do so because if we don’t do so, the whole edifice will fall on our heads and we will have ourselves to blame.
“There is no need allowing files to pile up in your offices without you finding solutions to them. The owners of those files are seeking solutions and it is your responsibility to attend to those files and provide solutions. Try to give out your very best. Try also to supervise effectively the juniors under you, because without adequate supervision, there will be laxity in the system.
“You must know that it is not going to be easy because things have been done in a particular way; so, to put things right and straighten the system is not going to be easy nor will it be a bed of roses”, the CJN said.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee included:
To carry out a comprehensive analysis of the administrative structure and operations of the three arms of the Government with a view to exploring areas of comparative advantage and mutual cooperation;
To undertake a comprehensive review of the operations and condition of service of the Nigeria Judiciary with a view to enhancing general efficiency and effectiveness;
To recommend long and short-term measures that would help in the general improvement of the welfare/condition of service of both Judicial and Non-Judicial Officers;
To call for memoranda from former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Presidents Court of Appeal, Chief Registrars, and other stakeholders on the way forward;
To create a professional/management structure for the administration of the Judiciary with – a “Head” well versed in Judicial Administration;
To create a professional Bailiffs and Sheriffs’/Judiciary Police Department;
To propose a pooling policy and recommend a rule to empower the Federal Judicial Service Commission to commence the operation of a pooling system of Senior Officers within the Judiciary;
To propose and recommend to the NJI the review of its training syllabus to include short term courses for certification of Judiciary Personnel with a view to enhancing their career development; and
To make any other recommendations that will help in repositioning the Judiciary for optimal performance.
SEYI ANJORIN, Abuja