Senior members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to invoke Executive Order 10 against state governors as a way of compelling them to respect the nation’s constitution and the rule of law on Separation of Powers.
The Senior Advocates of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja lambasted the state governors over their alleged disregard of the Supreme law of the country.
At a briefing to formally endorse the indefinite nationwide strike by the Judiciary workers, the senior lawyers praised the federal government for allowing separation of powers among the three arms of the government at the federal level.
Joe Gadzama and Yakubu Maikyau both Senior Advocates, who addressed the media condemned state governors for their alleged deliberate refusal to obey and protect the constitution as it relates to the separation of powers at the state level and urged President Buhari to bring them to the right track.
“We as senior lawyers in this country have decided to come out and lend our voice and support to the ongoing strike by the judiciary workers against the state governors.
It is unfortunate that the state governors have turned themselves into bad examples on the issue of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution, Chief Gadzama said.
“The governors have no business buying cars for judges and building houses for the judicial officers. Separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution does permit that kind of acts of illegality.
“Governors must allow the judiciary to be truly autonomous and financially independent from the executive arm at the state level as being practised at the federal level.
Gadzama said the senior lawyers as Ministers in the temple of justice, stand by the national president of the NBA, Olumide Akpata and will continue to rally around the judiciary workers until their demands are fully met.
The senior lawyers had earlier blocked the entrance of the National Assembly in their bid to take their protest against the non-implementation of financial autonomy of the Judiciary to the leadership of the senate.
The body noted that whatever affects the judiciary also affects them and will leave no stone unturned until governors comply with the separation of powers.
However, a police officer who attended to the group explained that without a formal notification they would not be allowed access to the National Assembly, adding that there is also no official on ground to attend to them.
The protesting lawyers led by the first Vice President of the NBA, Mr John Aikpokpo-Martins, however, stood at the entrance of the National Assembly for over three hours insisting there would be no entry nor exit until they were allowed in.
Aikpkpo-Martins said they were on a mission because it tallies with the NBA motto which is promoting the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary.
He lamented that governors have refused to cooperate despite all entreaties to obey the provisions of the constitution on financial autonomy, adding that all attempts to make them see reasons have failed, hence the protest.
Aikpokpo-Martins while noting that the federal government has already complied with the constitutional provisions, said they decided to come to the National Assembly to urge its leadership to prevail on the governors to comply and obey various Courts’decisions in favour of financial autonomy of the Judiciary.
He said it would be in the best interest of the nation for the governors to obey the laws of the land, emphasising that all over the country, NBA branches are meeting with governors to urge them to comply with the constitutional provisions on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary, adding that they were at the National Assembly to also urge them to speak with the executive to prevail on the governors to comply just like the federal government.
“We are aware that governors are seeking to negotiate, we are against it”, he said, “we want to pass a message across that you have no right to negotiate provisions of the constitution”.
Martins said what must be done is for the governors to obey the constitution and judgments of the courts which were not appealed against or vacated.
He disclosed that Executive Order 10 was a product of an all-inclusive meeting of all stakeholders in the judiciary including the governors before it was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.
While urging the federal government to garnishee the accounts of state governments and pay directly to the respective state judiciaries, he said failure to do so will not only amount to a betrayal of the people but will portray them as accomplices.
About Article Author