The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), led by human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has said that the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should put in place a transparency mechanism that will exclude judges from managing funds budgeted for the judiciary.

The group stated this in a statement issued yesterday and titled, ‘ASCAB Seeks Transparency Mechanism to Manage Funds for the Judiciary,’ which was signed by Falana.

According to ASCAB, the mechanism would prevent judges from being subjected to undue interference by legislative bodies and investigation by anti-graft agencies.

The group said this would also allow judges to concentrate on the discharge of their core constitutional mandate of administering justice in an atmosphere of independence and impartiality in line with international best practices. Falana-led ASCAB described as embarrassing, the mismanagement of public funds by chief judges and chief registrars.

The group also rallied support for the strike, adding that it was meant to actualise the relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, which requires that any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government or state government shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.

The statement read in part, “The ongoing industrial action by JUSUN is highly commendable. Since the strike is geared towards the promotion of the independence of the judiciary, it is fully supported by the entire members of ASCAB.

“However, ASCAB has noted that in some states where limited financial autonomy has been granted by the executive, the fund earmarked for the judiciary was alleged to have been diverted by some heads of courts.

“It is therefore pertinent for the JUSUN and NBA to put in place a transparency mechanism that will insulate judges from being subjected to the management of the fund budgeted for the judiciary so that the heads of courts are not involved in the award and execution of contracts.”

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