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Tambuwal Canvasses Financial Autonomy For Judiciary As House Resumes Plenary

Collins Okorie, Abuja

Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives has stressed the need for finnacial autonomy for the judiciary ahead of the 2015 general elections.

To achieve this, Tambuwal emphasised the need for synergy between the House and the Senate.

Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, Nigeria's House of Representatives

Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, Nigeria’s House of Representatives

“Also critical in the consideration of the 2014 budget is the funding of the judicial arm. There have been series of appeals from the Chief Justice of Nigeria and former Chief Justices under the auspices of the body of Benchers on the need for enhanced funding of the judiciary. The progressive decline of allocation to the judicial branch should be reversed in the interest of the country.

“We take cognizance of the fact that legal autonomy without financial autonomy will not deliver the truly independent judiciary that we crave for. Besides, given that 2014 is an election year there is no doubt that the judiciary will be seriously inundated with election cases in addition to their normal workload. We will therefore be counting on the cooperation of our colleagues in the Senate towards the realization of this objective,” he urged.

While welcoming lawmakers to the chambers after about 5 weeks recess, Tambuwal assured that the 2014 budget would be given accelerated consideration and passage despite the usual delay in its presentation.

He also tasked relevant standing committees to expedite actions on the consideration of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Pension Reform Bill and the proposed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill as well as the Constitution review.
While urging members to jettison all forms of politics and politicking, the Speaker urged members to remain totally committed to the execution of our mandate as the people’s representatives.

On the 2014 Appropriation Bil, the Speaker who berated the Executive for late presentation of the budget, noted that “poor budget implementation by the executive over the years has continued to test the patience and tolerance of Nigerians of office holders commitment to their welfare. It is important to note that early commencement of budget implementation is of the essence in ensuring full, efficient and effective program execution.
He however assured that the House will ensure all due diligence and scrutiny for the realization of a pro people Budget we must work assiduously to pass the 2014 Appropriation Bill expeditiously. I am sure that Nigerians can count on our capacity to deliver in this regard.”

While reacting to the political crisis in Rivers State, the Speaker urged all players “that the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government. Accordingly, governance must be subject to the strict observance of the Rule of Law and good conscience, therefore civility rather than impunity should be our guide at all times and in all situations.

“The incidences in question exhibit an unacceptable level of either failure of government or abdication of responsibility neither of which should be encouraged in our polity.

“The situation in Rivers State is lamentable because the joint resolutions of the Senate and House of Representatives aimed at dousing the tensed political atmosphere have been ignored and today we are having a situation of gradual relapse into anarchy.

“On the part of politicians, I urge that we avoid recourse to unlawful and violent means of projecting our political interest and ambitions, rather let us adopt peaceful advocacy and networking. It has worked in other jurisdictions and it can work here if we give it a chance.

“Honorable Colleagues, we have a mandate from our people and we have a covenant with the Nigerian people, we cannot therefore afford to lose focus. We are in an era of fast and unrelenting political changes. Whatever changes have occurred or will likely occur, national interest remain constant, the Constitution which we swore to uphold remains our guide,therefore the well-being of our constituents and indeed of all Nigerians remains our primary duty and focus.

“This is our challenge and with dedication, single-minded will, zeal and passion we are well able to accomplish.”

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