SAN urges NASS to amend National Industrial Court law

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

The National Assembly has been asked to amend the section of the Nation’s Constitution that established the National Industrial Court which is saddled with hearing of labour related matters.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Barrister Kehinde Kolawole Eleja, made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital while speaking with Journalists

Barrister Eleja noted with sadness that unlike other courts in the land, when the industrial court decides on a matter, there is no opportunity to make an appeal to a higher court.

He therefore called on the National Assembly to do the needful and ensure that the constitution is amended for people to have access to ventilate their grievances up to the Supreme Court due to the sensitivity of labour issues.

The legal practitioner also suggested that the law ought to be amended to reduce the number of cases that gets to the Supreme Court.

He therefore appealed to the state governors to assist the judiciary in their various states to make them more independent to ensure quick dispensation of justice by allowing them have direct access to its funds and apply it as they deem it fit.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also called for the independence of the third tier of government which is the local government in terms of finances and functions to allow it play its statutory role as stipulated by the constitution.

On corruption which he described as endemic, the legal practitioners said the judiciary and the legal practitioner have begun self cleansing to get rid of bad eggs in the system.

He encouraged members of the public to follow the due process and report any erring judge or lawyers to the appropriate authorities so that sanction or other disciplinary actions would be meted on such officer.

Criminal system

He advocated the enforcement of administration of criminal Justice system in the Country to stipulate some other forms of punishments for offenders.

The legal practitioner said such body would have the powers to sentence an offender to serve punishment in his or her state for community service without necessarily taken such accused person to prisons.

According to him, such punishment will serve as a deterrent to others and thereby reduce prisons congestion.

He lamented the high number of suspects awaiting trial in Nigerian Prisons stressing that prisons in the Country today were those built in the colonial era with relative low Nigeria population crime rate compared to the current state.

Barrister Eleja admitted that the Judiciary has a great role to play in prisons decongestion, adding that one of the reasons for congestions was slow pace of administering justice and called for the administration of criminal Justice Act to be replicated in the various states so that cases are heard from time to time.

The Senior Advocate also frowned at keeping suspects in prisons for two long over minor cases which according to him are matters that are bailable and and blamed prisons  conditions on some judges that grant stringent bail conditions which suspect find difficult to meet or satisfy, as well as prosecutors who adjourned cases unnecessarily.

Barrister Eleja therefore called on the authorities concerned to look at all problems resulting to prisons congestion holistically and praised the efforts of the Judiciary and the legal profession for looking for a positive solution to the problem.