The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to appoint more justices to the Supreme Court to accelerate determination of cases and dispensation of justice.
This followed the adoption of a motion of Urgent Public Importance by Onofiok Luke (APC, Akwa Ibom) during Thursday’s plenary presided over by Deputy Speaker Idris Wase.
The motion was titled: “Call on the Federal Government to Appoint More Justices to the Supreme Court to Expedite Justice Delivery in Nigeria.”
Luke said the Supreme Court is the apex and final court in the land with original and appellate jurisdiction over the country.
He said the court has the mandate to adjudicate on disputes and controversies arising from any subject matter.
The lawmaker added that the court is thus faced with the responsibility of handling a high volume of cases with minimal number of justices.
“This House is aware that the number of justices of the Supreme Court has been reduced to 13 with the recent retirement of Justice Amiru Sanusi from the court.
“The situation will become worse, due to the impending retirement of another justice of the court in a few months.
“The House is 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,” he said.
The lawmaker expressed concern 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.
“This will also put the available number of justices of the court under immense pressure as there are many cases to be decided by the court,” Luke added.
He said some court cases were undecided for over 10 years, adding that the court’s diary was full with no date for a new appeal until 2021.
The House agreed that appointing new court justices would speed up the dispensation of justice and increase citizens’ access to justice in the country.