The House of Representatives Special Ad-hoc Committee on the review of 1999 constitution has moved to insulate the Code of Conduct Tribunal from political influence and enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.
To this end, Members of the committee unanimously agreed that Code of Conduct Tribunal should not only become full-fledged court, but be listed among the courts that benefit from the first line charge meant for judiciary.
The committee also agreed that there should be more than one tribunal to handle breach of code of conduct considering the size of nation and baglog of pending cases. For this reason, the committee is proposing an increase in the number of judges of the Code of Conduct Tribunal from three to at least 40.
The committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff after a robust debate at the last Monday meeting of the committee, consultants and PLAC Representatives concluded that only cases involving death penalty, enforcement of human rights and interpretation of the constitution would be entertained at the supreme Courts.
All matters relating to pre-election matters or election matter and any other cases would be terminated at the Appeal Courts, the committee said.
The committee so far has treated 40 Bills and at the last meeting, considered the Judiciary Reform Bill. The Bill is a consolidated Bill prepared by heads of courts and judicial bodies in Nigeria.
The Bill was forwarded to the National Assembly on 26th of January 2017 by the then Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice W S N Onnoghen (CFR) and was sponsored by Hon Aminu Shehu Shagari, chairman House committee of judiciary.
Some of the highlights of the Bill indicated that the judiciary is trying to review the composition of members of Supreme Court from 21 prescribed by the constitution to 16.
On the other hand, the proposed law seeks to increase the prescribed minimum membership of the court of Appeal from 41 to 100 justices.
Similarly, another proposal by the judiciary seeks to reduce in a radical manner the type of cases that goes on appeal to Supreme Court to only three.
The purpose of this, according to a statement from the committee, is to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court and also increase the capacity of the court of Appeal to shoulder additional responsibilities, including entertaining appeals from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
Members of the committee retained the 20-man composition of the Supreme Court but increase the minimum membership of court of appeal to 100.
The committee also agreed that cases from the National Industrial court should terminate at the court of Appeal, for this reason, a special division for Industrial matter would be created in line with the existing ones for customary law and Islamic law.