By Gift Chapi Odekina
The house of representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Government to appoint more justices to the Supreme Court in order to accelerate the determination of cases and dispensation of justice.
This followed a motion moved by Rep. Hon. Onofiok Luke during plenary in Abuja.
Moving the motion, Luke noted that the Supreme Court of Nigeria as the apex and final court of the land with original and appellate jurisdiction over the entire country to adjudicate on disputes and controversies arising from any subject matter; as a result of its original and appellate jurisdiction over the entire country is faced with the huge responsibility of handling high volume of cases with minimal number of justices;
He further stated that the number of justices of the Supreme Court has been reduced to 13 with the recent retirement of Hon. Justice Amiru Sanusi from the court, and the situation will become worse owing to the impending retirement of another justice of the court in few months from now.
“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;
“Worried that the reduction in the number of justices will slow down the dispensation of justice and affect the pace at which matters are meant to be determined, and will put the available number of justices of the court under immense pressure as there are many cases to be decided by the court.
“Concerned that some cases stay undecided in the Supreme Court for over ten years and that as of now, the diary of the Supreme Court is full with no date for a new appeal until 2021” he added.
He therefore added hat appointing new justices to the Supreme Court will accelerate justice dispensation, expand the course of justice and increase citizens’ access to justice.