The Delta State Judiciary Fund Management Financial Autonomy Bill has passed the second at the State House of Assembly.
The second reading of the bill which is also the second executive Bill in the Seventh Assembly was a sequel to a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere seconded by Hon Reuben Izeze and adopted at Thursday’s plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori.
Opening debate on the bill, the Majority Leader, Hon Owhefere said the bill will enable the Judiciary to operate without fear or favour as it would further entrench the fact that the Judiciary was the hope of the common man.
He argued that the separation of powers in a democratic setting would come into play as the Judiciary would receive it’s funding directly from the federation account as clearly defined in the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended by the National Assembly granting financial autonomy to the legislature and Judiciary.
The Majority Leader who highlighted various clauses in the bill said there would be a Fund Management Board that would be established in line with the bill when passed with the Chief Judge as Chairman, President of the Customary Court of Appeal as Vice Chairman among others to ensure transparency.
Hon Owhefere argued that there would be probity and accountability as there would be a due process unit in line with the Due Process law passed by the House.
Others who spoke in support of the bill are the members representing Ika North East, Honourable Anthony Elekeokwuri, Ughelli North One, Honourable Charles Oniyere, Ndokwa West, Honourable Charles Emetulu and Uvwie,Honourable Solomon Ighrakpata.
They said the separation of powers as subscribed by the House during the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended saying that the bill showed that the executive was ready for good governance.
The lawmakers argued that the bill would strengthen and promote the independence of the Judiciary as there was a clear financial structure in the administration of funds.
The members representing Isoko South One, Honourable Ferguson Onwo, Ika South, Hon Festus Okoh, Bomadi, and Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Oboro Preyor, Oshimili North and Chief Whip, Hon Pat Ajudau and Ughelli South, Hon Reuben Izeze also spoke on the merits the Bill.
They said the bill clearly spelt spending and approval limit of the Chief Judge and the Board as well as have powers to co-opt anybody outside the Board based on any issue without voting powers.
The lawmakers argued that the bill would institutionalize the instructions of democracy as it would repeal the existing law.
The second reading of the bill was unanimously adopted when put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori.
The Speaker thereafter set up an ad-hoc Committee to scrutinise the bill with the Chief Whip as Chairman and Honourables Charles Oniyere, Emmanuel Sinebe, Ferguson Onwo and Reuben Izeze with Mr. Stephen Okolo as Secretary.
The ad-hoc Committee is expected to submit it’s reported to the House on Tuesday, July 23,2019.