Ex-rep to Tinubu: Supreme court overburdened, needs appointment of more justices

 


Onofiok Luke, a former lawmaker, has called for the appointment of more judges to the supreme court to take the tally to 21 justices, which is the maximum.

 

The apex court currently has 12 justices after the death of Chima Nweze on Saturday.

 

Nweze died on Saturday at the age of 64 after a brief illness.

 

While condoling with the judiciary and Nweze’s family over the death of the jurist, Luke in a statement on Wednesday, expressed concern about the “over-spending workload” the apex court justices are exposed to.

 

 “It is worth emphasising that the supreme court of Nigeria adjudicates over matters from different parts of the country,” Luke said.

 

“In view of its overstretched nature, some matters have lingered in the court for over 20 years. All reasonable efforts to limit matters that get to the court, as it is obtained in other climes, have proven abortive.

 

“More worrying is the fact that despite the overstretched nature of the supreme court, the court is yet to attain its full complement of 21 justices.

 

 “Disturbingly, two justices of the court will be retiring in a matter of months. This leaves the court terribly short-handed and unable to optimally perform its adjudicatory functions, and more importantly, execute its policy-setting goal.

 

“The situation is worsened given that this is a post-election season when the services of the court are often called upon. The effects of this unwholesome situation are unquantifiable.”

 

The former lawmaker noted that while the situation slows down the administration of justice, “it may also reduce the quality of justice delivery to the people as the court lacks the needed and adequate manpower to thoroughly consider matters before it”.

 

“It is imperative that the necessary stakeholders in the Nigerian project intervene to safe the judiciary, and indeed, the country,” he said.

 

 “The judiciary is an important accompaniment to democracy, and anything that affects its smooth functioning affects Nigeria.

 

“It is in this vein that I plead with the president, his excellency, President Asiwaju Tinubu, given his record as a democrat, to intervene and approve the appointment of new justices to the court to meet its full complement of 21 justices.

 

“This will no doubt ease justice delivery and position the court to meet its core functions, and save the current justices from unnecessary stress.”

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