Senate to debate invasion of Justice Odili’s residence

*No interference on our activities, says CJN

*As FG jerks up judiciary budget by N10bn

By Benjamin Arida://

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Senate would, on resumption next week Tuesday debate the invasion of the residence of a Justice of the Supreme Court, JSC, Mary Odili by security agents as urgent matter of national importance at the plenary session.

Security operatives had last Friday night  invaded Abuja residence of the apex court justice based on alleged information that “illegal activities” were going on there.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) dropped the hint yesterday during an oversight visit to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad in his office in Abuja.

“We cannot pretend not to be unaware of the embarrassing situation on invasion of residence of Justice Mary Odili on Friday night by security agents. Without joining issue with anyone, we take the matter seriously, by the time, we are back to plenary session, we will discuss the matter as urgent of national Importance,” he said,

On the budget of the judiciary in 2022 fiscal year, Senator Bamidele said: “It is trite to state that 2022 budget estimate for the judiciary is N120 billion only representing  an increase in the sum of N10 billion, over the sum which was appropriated in the 2021 Appropriation Act.

“Even though this increase is not enough to meet the competing needs and challenges of the judiciary, we must commend the present administration for listening to the voice of reason and clamour from various quarters advocating  for increased funding for the judiciary.”

However, the Chief Justice of Nigeria disclosed that there is no any interference from the legislative or executives arm of government on the activities of the judiciary, adding that the National Assembly has not failed Judiciary.

Justice Muhammad, who was responding to Senator Bamidele’s opening remarks, said: “The legislative arm of government has not failed us, there is nothing that we want that have not been granted by the lawmakers, you are doing the right thing. If you see that something is going wrong with judiciary, call our attention to it. There is no interference from the legislature and the executive on our activities.”

According to him, the judiciary was ready to accept correction if something is going wrong.

In her submission, the Acting Chief Registrar of Supreme Court, Hajo Sarki Bello informed the lawmakers that 75 percent budget performance has been recorded in term of releases and 60 percent in expenditure.

She said that N368 million was appropriated to cater for the official vehicles of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Hon. Justices of the apex court.

The Acting Chief Registrar explained that the amount was for the procurement of one additional vehicle each for eight newly appointed justices in the interim pending the availability of funds to procure the remaining ones.

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