The Nigerian House of Representatives has urged the executive arm of government to appoint more justices to the Supreme Court, to accelerate the determination of cases and dispensation of justice.
This was contained in a motion under matter of urgent public importance adopted at the plenary in Abuja.
Presenting the motion, Mr. Luke Onofiok from Akwa Ibom State expressed concern that the number of Justices at the Supreme Court has been reduced to 13 with the recent retirement of Justice Amiru Sanusi and the impending retirement of another justice of the court in few months from now.
Mr Onofiok said; ”Also aware that section 230(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution prescribes the maximum number of the justices of the Supreme Court to be 21 and the court in its history has not had a full complement of the prescribed 21 number of justices;
”Note that as a result of its original and appellate jurisdiction over the entire country, the Supreme Court is faced with the huge responsibility of handling high volume of cases with minimal number of justices.”
He explained that the reduction in the number of justices would slow down the dispensation of justice and affect the pace at which matters are meant to be determined, while subjecting the available justices to immense pressure.
“There are many cases to be decided by the court; and some cases stay undecided in the Supreme Court for over 10 years and presently, the diary of the Supreme Court contains cases with no date for a new appeal until 2021,” the Lawmaker added.
The House therefore, agreed that appointing new justices to the Supreme Court would accelerate justice dispensation, expand the course of justice and increase citizens’ access to justice.