The Bauchi branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has told the state House of Assembly to adhere to its constitutional function of legislation and lawmaking as contained in the principle of separation of power rather than dabble into matters concerning the judiciary.
The Bauchi branch chairman of the NBA, Jibrin S. Jibrin, gave the advice while reacting to the recent resolution of the Assembly on the promotion of some judicial officers to the position of upper and lower Sharia court judges.
The judicial body said the constitution, being the grund norm of the land, clearly stipulates the functions of the three arms of government.
Citing the provisions of Section 202 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Sections 19 and 20 of the Bauchi State Judicial Service Committee Law Cap 75 Laws of Bauchi State 2006, the NBA submitted that the House did not have such powers to interfere in the function of the judiciary, which is another arm of government.
The NBA chairman said the body had a duty to ensure that the spirit and letter of the law, especially the 1999 Constitution was respected by all persons and authorities within and outside the state and the country.
“As the leaders of the Bar in Bauchi State, we are addressing you this afternoon regarding issues arising out of the position of the Bauchi State House of Assembly regarding the recent promotion exercise involving judges of lower Shari’ah courts as carried out by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in Bauchi State.
“Now having this background in mind, we have keenly monitored the developments pertaining to the said promotion exercise and as a body whose stake in issue bordering on the justice sector as the JSC constitutionally sanctioned, we have thoroughly reviewed the developments,” Jubrin said.
”We have formally communicated to the Bauchi State House Assembly through the Speaker whereon we drew its attention to the provisions of Section 202 of the 1999 Constitution FRN (amended) along with Sections 19 and 20 of the Bauchi State Judicial Service Committee Law cap 75 Laws of Bauchi State 2006 in the context of the legal implication of the position of the House calling for the halting of the promotion exercise as done by J.S.C as well as the subsequent invitation of the concerned officials.
We are, however, under obligation as lawyers to draw attention to the fact that the impact of the said Sections 202 of the Constitution (supra), 19 and 20 of the Bauchi State JSC Law (supra) and other extant laws and regulations do not allow for the interference of the Honorable House on the issue in reference in the manner it sought to do.”
“Being a major stakeholder in the justice sector and as avowed advocates of the rule of law, justice, equity and proper conduct, we are concerned that the relevant legal issue raised by the position of the legislative arm of the government in the state particularly, the manner of their intervention or involvement in this matter be addressed.
“The idea is that we have a duty to ensure that the spirit and letter of the law especially the 1999 constitution as the grund norm is respected by all persons and authorities within and outside the state and of course the country.”
While saying that the NBA appreciates the interest and concert of the House on the fact that justice must be done in the issue of promotion, Jubrin said the association was engaging the concerned authorities with a view to seeing to it that justice was done to all.
“We appreciate the interest, concern and commitment of the Honorable House on the issue especially the fact that justice is done to all concerned, including the need to reflect geographical balancing in the exercise of this nature.
“We are engaging the concerned authorities on the issues arising out of the exercise with a view to seeing to it that justice is done to all and laid down criteria, rules and regulations guiding such exercise are followed to the letter,” the chairman said.
“We remain open to deepening the synergy, co-operation and collaboration between the Bar and the arms of government in the state towards ensuring that the interest of just prevails at all times.”