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President Mum over Constitution Amendments affecting the Judiciary

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President Buhari has remained silent over the Constitution alteration bill containing submissions of the judiciary despite explicit provisions in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) requiring that he either signify or withhold assent within 30 days of receiving a Bill. The Bill is among the 12 Constitution alteration Bills that were transmitted to the President after fulfilling the requirement of passage by the National Assembly and consequential adoption by a two third majority of the 36 State Houses of Assembly.

This Bill makes far-reaching provisions for the judiciary that will expedite the dispensation of justice and reduce the backlog of cases. One way it seeks to do this for instance is by increasing the composition of the Court of Appeal from not less than 49 Justices to not less than one hundred Justices. It also provides for the disposition of an application for leave to appeal by three Justices in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and reduces the period that judicial officers are entitled to claim pension from fifteen years to ten years.

It is unclear why the President has been silent over the Bill, as other related Bills dealing with pre-election matters and providing a time frame for their speedy adjudication have been assented to by the President.  The Bill was recommended by the judiciary to aid the administration of justice.