Buhari may enforce autonomy for state legislature, judiciary

• Gets report of presidential panel on its implementation

President Buhari yesterday said his administration was working for the autonomy of state legislature and judiciary to deepen democracy and inclusiveness of the citizens by guaranteeing fairness for them.

The assurances came as the president received a report of the Abubakar Malami-led Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary at the State House, Abuja.

“I went through a terrible time getting here for the three times I contested elections. That is why I want to stabilise the system so that others will not pass through the same experience,” he stated.

Buhari said his government would study the document as well as the recommendations and take necessary decisions.

“Both young and ordinary Nigerians depend on the leadership to ensure justice is always done. So, we must ensure that trust is not compromised. This administration will take the report seriously,’’ he promised.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina quoted Malami as saying that the implementation of the recommendations would entrench constitutionalism, democratic principles and separation of powers.

The immediate past Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation said the panel observed that most states honoured the constitutional provisions for financial autonomy in the breach, reiterating that the legislature and judiciary remain the last hope of the common man and should be granted freedom.

He said the committee consulted with state governors, chief judges, speakers of assemblies, civil society organisations, relevant stakeholders and the public in the course of its work.

The team was inaugurated by the president on March 22, 2019 to fashion out strategies and modalities for implementation of the financial autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary in compliance with Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Addressing State House correspondents after the submission, Malami submitted that the report recommended an Executive Order by Buhari for the immediate implementation of the independence for the legislature and judiciary at the state level.

On how soon the liberty would come, the former AGF said: “ The independence has already been established by the constitution. So, it is now about the implementation of the modalities and among the recommendations made to Mr. President is an Executive Order designed to give effect to the implementation of Section 121 which constitutionally establishes the independence of the two arms of government.

“So, it is about the application, operation and enforcement of the provisions of the constitution and with the signing of the Executive Order, l believe the necessary formalities of the whole-hearted implementation of this provisions will come into effect.”

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