Kano NBA Resists ‘Unlawful’ Increments in Filing Fees, Engages States Judiciary
The Kano branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) rose from a monthly congress meeting on Monday with resolution to resist the huge increment in filing fees slammed against litigants by the Kano State judiciary, especially those concerning fundamental rights enforcement.
The branch frowned at what some of its members called arbitrary and unlawful increment in the filling fees for, especially, the fundamental rights enforcement, saying the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules have already covered the ground in that regard.
The branch had earlier constituted a committee consisting of senior members to review the recent increment in filing fees which members said were comparatively too high and exorbitant.
The committee submitted a report to the congress on Monday in which it came down heavily on the state judiciary for what it termed an attempt to turn the judiciary “into a revenue generating outfit”, vowing the fight attempts to “turn the judiciary into a private business.”
Apart from the recommendation to limit the filing fees for fundamental rights enforcement to what the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules stipulated, the committee equally demanded that filing for all other matters be significantly reduced to accord with what was obtainable in neighboring jurisdictions.
The report of a sub-committee that conducted comparative analysis of the fees chargeable in Kano rules with those of the neighboring states of Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa revealed that the fees chargeable by Kano quite outstrips those of the mentioned states.
The report said while Kano charges N6000 for filling of writ of summon, Katsina charges N100 for same and Jigawa state charges N120, while the Federal High Court charges N2000 for such service.
“For Motion on Notice, while Kano State charges N3000 in the new schedule of fees, Katsina and Kaduna State charge N250 each for same service, Jigawa State charges N50 and the Federal High Court charges N2000.
“These same fees for motion on notice are applicable to motion ex-parte.
“For Affidavit/Oaths Filling, Kano State charges N500, Katsina N100 and Kaduna State charges N100 Jigawa State N50 while the Federal High Court charges N1000.”
“While for each attachment/annexures to a motion Kano State charges N500, Katsina and Kaduna State charge N50, Jigawa State N1.00 while the Federal High Court charges N100”, the sub-committe report said.
The committee also delved into the issue of financial accountability in the state judiciary, saying it was necessary to automate its accounting system as done in other states, urging members to insist on compliance with the TSA regime and resist further payments in cash.
This particular recommendation flowed from the discovery that the state government was not aware of all the increments imposed by the judiciary as same were not remitted or properly accounted for.
The branch said while it would continue to “fight to ensure the independence of the judiciary, it should not condone lawlessness or criminality in the guise of protecting judicial independence.”
An important aspect of the committee’s recommendation was that the state government should ensure that “budgetary allocations to the judiciary are given top priority in the scheme of government spending.”
It also said a proposal granting waiver to indigent litigants should be considered “In accordance with the general intendment of the constitution making access to court unfettered.”
Members of the committee included state commissioner of commerce, Ibrahim Mukhtar; commissioner of justice, M.A. Lawan; Hajiya Fatima Kwaku (MFR); E.O.B. Offiong, SAN and Steve Adehi, SAN.
Others are M.N. Duru, Dele Olaniyan, Ibrahim Aliyu Nassarawa, Saidu Muhd T/Wada, Abbass Haladu, Haruna Musa and Abdullahi Ibrahim.
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