Asaba - Mr Okey Wali, the National President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has stressed the need for increased funding and the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.
Wali made the call in his address on Thursday at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the association holding in Asaba.
He said that since 2010 to date that the appropriations for the judiciary at the federal level had continued to drop instead of increasing as noticed in other two arms of government.
He said that for the government to have a modern judiciary or modern justice delivery system, judiciary must be adequately funded and independent.
"The appropriation for the Judiciary in 2011 was N95 billion now in 2012 it came down to N75 billion.
"While appropriation is going up for other arms of government that of judiciary at the federal level is going down.
"We will resist the temptation to say that that was deliberate attempt to undermine the judiciary," Wali said.
He said that the 1999 Constitution as amended was clear on the independence and self accounting judiciary.
"The NBA hereby calls on the Federal Government and various state governments to be law abiding and comply with the position of Section 81(3), 121(3) in the 1999 Constitution and ensure the independent of the Judiciary," he said.
Wali thanked the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan for his support and assured that the meeting would deliberate on the challenges and come up with workable solutions that would be of benefit to all Nigerians.
Uduaghan, who was a special guest, before declaring the occasion open, urged the association to re-strategise on how to ensure ethics and standards in the profession.
The governor said that with growing number of membership of the association to about 70,000, the challenges of managing the association and ensure ethics and standard would also be great.
"My honest advice to the executive committee is that there is potential challenge before this distinguished body.
"It is requiring it to begin to re-strategies and find ways of administering the body and reaching out to members to ensure that those ethics and standards that have sustained the legal profession are not lowered.
"Discipline has to be maintained to ensure that the legal profession can continue to effectively play its role of ensuring the observance of the rule of law, upholding the rights of citizens and social engineering," Uduaghan said.
The governor pledged his continued support for the legal profession and NBA, adding that a good number of the state executives and officials were members of the NBA.
In a welcome address, Mr Chukwuma Oseyenim, Chairman, NBA Asaba branch, thanked the association for choosing Asaba as host and assured them of the safety and the hospitality of the state government and the people of the state.
He also thanked the government and all government officials who are members of the association for the various contributions to ensure that the meeting was successful and pledged the association readiness to deliver on its mandate.
He recounted the various supports the branch had received from the state government and ceased the opportunity to ask for more from the government.