CJN inaugurates committee on judicial reforms

Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen yesterday inaugurated a 14-man steering committee to coordinate reforms of the country’s judicial system.  

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the CJN, Awassam Bassey said the Committee, which has one month to submit its recommendations has Secretary, Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), Bilkisu Bashir as the chairperson.  

She would be assisted by the Director, Administration, Supreme Court of Nigeria, Royal Issah as the Secretary. Other members of the committee are Directors of Administration, Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal, Federal Capital Territory High Court, National Industrial Court and the President of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).   

Inaugurating the committee at the FJSC’s Conference Room, Onnoghen stated that the establishment of the committee emanated from the urgent need to undertake a holistic review of the nation’s judiciary to identify the challenges hindering its efficient and effective operation as an independent arm of government.   

“You will agree with me that over time, the Judiciary, due to its conservative nature had stagnated in its operations while the other arms of government have continued to undergo reforms. It is now more urgent than ever to undertake a holistic reform of the Judiciary,” Onnoghen said.  

The committee’s terms of reference include carrying out a comprehensive analysis of the administrative structure and operations of the three arms of the government with a view to exploring areas of comparative advantage and mutual cooperation.  

It would undertake a comprehensive review of the operations and conditions of service of the Nigeria Judiciary with a view to enhancing general efficiency and effectiveness; to recommend long and short-term measures that would help in the general improvement of the welfare and conditions of service of both judicial and non-judicial officers and to call for memoranda from former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Presidents, Court of Appeal, Court Registrars and other stakeholders on the way forward.   

The committee would also to create a professional/management structure for the administration of the judiciary with a head that is well versed in judicial administration; to create a professional bailiffs and sheriffs/Judiciary Police Department.  

Others are to propose a pooling policy and recommend a rule to empower the Federal Judicial Service Commission to commence the operation of a pooling system of senior officers within the Judiciary; to propose and recommend to the NJI the review of its training syllabus to include short term courses for certification of judiciary personnel with a view of enhancing their career development as well as to make any other recommendations that will help in repositioning the judiciary for optimal performance.  

Bashir stated that the committee would leave no stones unturned in its efforts to submit a report that would make the country’s judiciary one of the best in the world.


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