Pilot Law

Current Issues: Judicial Autonomy: Need to  review Judges’ appointment


Salman Jawondo is a legal practitioner in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital whose voice on legal issues has become one to reckon with. In this interview with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI, he lauded President Muhammad Buhari for signing into law, the Judicial bill among other issues. Excerpt:

Some Nigerians have advocated for establishment of State police as a measure to halt incessant killings in the country, what is your view on this?

Nigerians look at problems from cosmetic perspective rather than finding solution to the cause of the problem. The Federal police used to be native authority; it was a result of agitation led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo that gave rise to it. The native authority police were  used to oppress and harass politicians from campaigning, as a result of this, the police was now changed to a  Federal agency. It is surprising that we talk of state police now simply because we have crisis in the country. Is the state police the way out? Have we gotten to the level in which we can manage it? My answer is ‘No’ it’s not about state police but how we conduct our affairs. There are criminal actions everywhere, how many states can cope with their financial obligations without going for bail out? What we’re going to end up with will be recruitment of thugs in uniforms. The problem we have is about how we conduct our affairs in this county. We have to address the cause of a particular problem rather than giving it cosmetic approach. Issue of indigenisation and citizenship must be addressed in Nigeria as a way of coming out of the killings of innocent souls. I support government totally on the issue of providing ranches… Most grazing routes have now been appropriated for one development on the other, so they have no means of grazing their animals again, this account for the clashes we are having in the country. The herdsmen are not owners of cattle but paid servants. These cattle’s in most cases belongs to rich people in the society who are not even Fulanis. If government can acquire lands for industrial purposes, what is wrong in acquiring lands for ranching?

The judicial autonomy bill signed to law last month by the Presidency has been faulted by some politicians  in the society… What is your take?

The judicial autonomy bill signed into law by the president, now an Act, is a very welcome development. It is what some of us have been agitating for. That has been my position; money meant for the judiciary should be paid into its account directly from Abuja. But independence are of two kinds; financial and human autonomy. Now we have financial autonomy, are we going to have judges who will be independent as human beings? That’s very important. That takes me to the mode of appointment of Judges. In those days, lawyers were invited to come to the bench, but there were no autonomy, then our judges were independent because only courageous and brilliant lawyers were called. But today, the process of appointment is by lobbying, the process must be reviewed. But it’s good for the sector because the era of meeting the executive to tap hands has gone. Coming to Kwara, none of our court rooms has air-conditioning system except the judges Chambers. It is so worse that we now have morning and afternoon sections, that means, two judges share a courtroom. It is worse at the magistrate level, about four magistrates share one court. How do we ensure productivity and efficiency in this regards? Some courts have been rendered inhabitable. If rain falls today, Oloje magistrate court in Ilorin cannot seat…

Exhuming of human corpses for rituals in Ilorin is fast becoming thriving business…

The problem we have is not absence of law, the one passed by the Kwara House of Assembly recently is a mere duplication. There is no where dealings with human parts is made lawful in the law. It is just another way of expending legislative time. Fundamental issue, economy problem and lack of fear of God Lacking in the heart of our people are the major cause of the problem. The person who exhumed 200 human skulls at Muslin cemetery, Osere in Ilorin is not a prophet, he only called himself one, he’s a masquerade. But, our government should address poverty in the land, this will also help to reduce the crime.

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