The Bauchi State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Sunday called on the state government to adequately fund the state judiciary to enable it discharge its responsibilities well.
The state chairman of the association, Barrister Abubakar Abdulhameed Bununu, made the call in an interview with journalists in Bauchi.
The NBA chairman stated that the state judiciary as of now is not well funded despite the fact that the judiciary plays vital roles in the state’s structure.
“Of course funding of the state judiciary is too meager. The function of the state judiciary in the state structure cannot be exhaustive,” Bununu said.
While declaring that the state government was taking steps to address challenges facing the judiciary in the state, Bununu solicited adequate funding of judges and judiciary staff.
“The funding should include all the basic needs of all staff of the judiciary, not to talk of the judges themselves. Here in Bauchi State, we are happy that the government is taking bold steps in addressing most of the problems in the state judiciary.”
Speaking on the delay in dispensation of justice in the state, the NBA chairman attributed some of the development to understaffing of the state Ministry of Justice, where he is a staff member, informing that, “we are having issue with less staffing.”
According to him, the delay being caused by the ministry occurs in the course of giving legal advice in cases, particularly criminal matters.
“I think in the entire North-east of this country, we (Bauchi State) have lesser lawyers in the Ministry of Justice. I don’t think we are more than 40 presently, but in places like Adamawa, at the rate of 70 lawyers, they were crying for more.
“Most of my colleagues are legal advisers in like two, three different MDAs or thereabout,” he stated.
The NBA chairman stated that with the few number of lawyers in the employ of the ministry, it might not be able to cope with prosecution of cases being handled by the police, which will have to be transferred to the ministry in line with the Police Act 2020.
“So on the issue of these prosecutions we are facing now, especially with the 2020 Police Act, most of the cases police are handling now will be shifted to the Ministry of Justice and with less capacity, we cannot handle it diligently.”
In view of this, Barrister Bununu called on the state government to equally employ more lawyers for the ministry.