The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has pledged the readiness of the Green Chamber to address some of the challenges faced by magistrates across the country.
The Speaker said a situation where magistrates have poor working conditions would not augur well for the judiciary, considering the enormous task before them.
“Based on what you said, something clinical has to be done. I wonder why the situation is like this. We know your work. We know how much you put in this profession.
“I’m just surprised at your condition of work. Obviously, something needs to be done,” Gbajabiamila told a team from the Magistrates Association of Nigeria who paid him a visit on Wednesday.
The Speaker said the House would have to unravel the reason why magistrates are not referred to as judicial officers in Section 318 of the constitution, as brought to his attention by the association.
“We just started the amendment (of the constitution). We’ll look at it and bring it in conformity with the best practices in the world. We would do everything we can to address that issue.
“You talked about the fact that your laws are obsolete. Please help us to make our work easier. We will work with the relevant committees to begin to look at those laws. Help us write something so that we can review it. We need your inputs.
“In terms of your salary structure, that’s very important because of the sensitivity of the work you do. All the issues that you brought up are important to the administration of criminal justice. The earlier you get these things across to us the better for us all.”
Addressing the Speaker earlier, the president of the association, Malam Saidu Umar, said they have been grappling with poor working conditions over the years.
He said with the coming of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), their work became enormous, but that their remuneration remains nothing to write home about.