Governors in the South-West geo-political zone have proposed de-centralisation of the Supreme Court in the on-going amendments to the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.
In their memorandum, through the South-West Caucus in the National Assembly, the governors are seeking the establishment of six more apex courts, one in each of the geo-political zones.
The document, dated July 5, 2021, was titled: “Proposals for the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended): Presentation by South West Governors’ Forum“.
Specifically, the governors are seeking an amendment to Section 230 of the constitution.
Nigeria presently has one Supreme Court sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), which handles all cases from the Court of Appeal. However, the governors are proposing that cases to be appealed to the apex court in Abuja be limited.
The South-West Governors’ Forum had met with the South-West Caucus at the National Assembly in Abuja behind closed doors on July 6, where they presented the memo.
At the meeting were Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum; and Governors Seyi Makinde, of Oyo State, Kayode Fayemi, of Ekiti State, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of Lagos State, and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
It is being proposed that while the present Supreme Court can have up to 21 Justices, the zonal apex courts would have 16 Justices each.
Both parties had resolved to set up a joint Senate and House committee to ensure that proposals in a memorandum presented by the governors were captured in the Constitution review exercise.
Apart from autonomy for the local government, the forum also proposed an amendment to Section 121(3) of the Constitution.