New Telegraph

Amend Constitution, Retiring Supreme Court Justice Tells NASS

Another female Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Amina Adamu Augie, yesterday formally bowed out of the Court calling on the National Assembly to carry out a holistic amendment to the 1999 Constitution for effective functioning of Courts in the country.

Augie charged the legislators to make it a point of duty to amend the Constitution so as to free courts from undue hardships hindering their effective performance. Justice Augie spoke in Abuja at a valedictory court session held in her honour as she bowed out of the Supreme Court Bench after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

The jurist said, the Supreme Court, as the Apex Court of the land, has its final decisions to shape society’s social order, adding that Justices of the court should be able to focus on what truly matters, issuing directives for formulating specific policies or amend existing ones to better serve their intended purposes.

“But how can they do that when they are drowning in an overwhelming caseload? The only way forward, as highlighted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola during the special ses- sion marking the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year, is to amend the constitution to restrict the circumstances under which appeals can reach this Supreme Court.

“This marks the final in- stance where my voice will be heard in any court and I wish to use this opportunity to directly address the 10th National Assembly, through distinguished Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who was once my student at the Law School. “I had the privilege of teaching him evidence and I trust that he learned well.

Hence, it should be evident to him that swift action is needed from the 10th National Assembly to accomplish what others could not – amending the Constitution to enhance the functioning of our courts in Nigeria,” she said.

Following the increasing workload, as a result of the depleting number of Justices of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) said the Federal Government is prepared and ready to strengthen the Apex Court to attain the required number of Justices as required by the constitution.

Speaking at the special court session, Fagbemi said, the Federal Government acknowledges the sacrifices and the working conditions of the current Justices of the Supreme Court and other Judges in Nigeria. The AGF described Justice Amina Augie as an embodiment of a patriotic and dedicated Nigerian, who made several far-reaching legal and judicial pronouncements, which have continued to generate reviews from legal commentators.

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