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Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Onofiok Luke

A Bill seeking to preserve the sanctity and authority of court to effectively and independently discharge its functions and exercise the judicial power under the Constitution and a Bill to amend the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act in order to expedite enforcement of judgment in garnishee proceedings and allow litigants get benefits of their judgment with out delay have scaled through Second Reading in the House of Representatives today.

Member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency, Onofiok  Luke while leading the debate on the Sheriffs and Civil Process ( Amendment) Bill, 2020 charged his Colleagues to support the Bill  to ensure that what has been a major clog in reaping the fruits of justice is expunged from the Act.

"In the legal practice and justice dispensation, one of the major challenges facing a litigant who has obtained judgment against an authority, is the requirement that the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation should be obtained before the enforcement of such judgment against government institutions"

"After spending long years in securing justice, litigants are forced by section 84 of the Principal Act to obtain the consent of the Attorney General before enforcing judgment against government institutions. There has never been a case where such consent has been given by the Attorney General. And it is obvious why such consent will not be given because the Attorney General is part of the government and it will foolhardy for the Attorney General to give consent against the government he is part of" Luke said.

The Lawmaker lamented the situation that such has left the litigants with with. He said; "Since consent cannot be obtained, litigants get to be denied the fruits of their judgment. Courts strike out such enforcement proceedings on the basis that consent has not been obtained".

Also Luke led the  debate on the Bill for an Act to preserve the sanctity and authority of court as a sacred institution in order to effectively discharge its functions and exercise the judicial powers conferred on it under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other statutes; and for other related matters.

According to Luke "In Nigeria, the judiciary face constant threats on daily basis. Some months ago agents of the State Security Service laid siege on the Federal High Court, Abuja to arrest a defendant in the case. They even entered a court of law when a judge was sitting to effect an arrest. That created pandemonium and disrupted court proceedings, thereby violating the sanctity of court".

This Bill is modelled after the Legislative House (Power and Privilege) Act which preserves the sanctity of the legislature in Nigeria. Luke said the provisions of the bill will preserve and protect the integrity of the court .

Both Bills were referred to the relevant Committees of the House.

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