Release Funds to the Judicary – House Tells Presidency

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The House of Representatives on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately make funds available to the judiciary in line with the provisions of the 2016 Appropriation Act.

The lawmakers condemned refusal by the executive to fund the National Judicial Council as an affront to the principles of separation of powers

In a motion raised by Aminu Shagari, a lawmaker from Sokoto State, the parliament said Mr. Buhari should direct all relevant agencies to release funds to the NJC in order to clear payment arrears of wages to judicial workers.

The House resolution came two days after the Senate said federal judges have not been paid for more than four months and warned Mr. Buhari that the failure of his government to release funds budgeted for the NJC in the 2016 budget could compromise the independence of the legislature.

On Wednesday, a civic group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, also weighed in on the controversy, saying Mr. Buhari’s “refusal to pay the salaries and allowances of judges may well be construed as having for its purpose an attack upon the independence of the judiciary, as judges are less independent if they have to beg for their salaries and allowances to be paid.”

Presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Salisu Isa, spokesman for the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, did not also respond to request for comments.

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