SERAP tasks Buhari on financial autonomy for judiciary
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to publish and fully implement the recommendations of the report on financial autonomy of states’ legislature and judiciary submitted to him last June.
In an open letter made available to The Guardian yesterday, SERAP said in the context of a growing attack on the country’s judiciary by politicians, full implementation of the report would improve judicial independence and respect for the principles of separation of powers.
According to the rights group, such would ensure that the system of checks and balances designed to prevent political interference and ensure respect for the rule of law is entrenched.
In the letter dated September 27, 2019, and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP stated, “Equal treatment before the law is a pillar of democratic societies. But when judicial financial autonomy and, by extension, independence and sanctity is undermined, the scales of justice are tipped and ordinary Nigerians suffer.”
When judicial autonomy and independence is under siege, everyone loses, as the voice of the innocent goes unheard, while the guilty continues to act with impunity, it added.
The letter read in part, “The failure to publish the full recommendations of the report and their implementation has continued to undermine the country’s judicial system and deny citizens access to justice and the basic human right to an impartial justice system.
“Ensuring the financial autonomy and independence of the courts would improve the ability of our judicial systems to deliver justice effectively. It would also allow the court to jealously guard the rights of innocent men and women and ensure that the guilty receive fair hearing, as well as remove the dangerous possibility of summary justice.”
“We urge you to ensure full respect for the rule of law and due process in words and action. A financially-autonomous judiciary is crucial for the effectiveness and success of your anti-corruption agenda and important for the realisation of citizens’ rights.”
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