From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammad has referred three judges involved in dishing out conflict court orders to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for necessary disciplinary action.
The CJN took the decision after a marathon meeting with the seven state chief judges who were summoned over the issue.
They are the chief judges of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa State, Anambra and Imo states.
In addition, Justice Mohammad warned state chief judges to henceforth avoid unnecessary assumption of jurisdiction in matters with similar subject and parties already before another court.
This, he explained, was to protect the court from lawyers that are out for forum shopping and work in tandem with all their judges to salvage the image of the Judiciary.
Daily Sun gathered that during the marathon meeting, each of the CJs was separately quizzed personally by the CJN for over an hour before he later read a riot act in a joint session with all of them.
A visibly angry CJN was reported to have stated that “a damage to one jurisdiction is a damage to all. We must, therefore, put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgments or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping. Your job as heads of court is a sacred one, and it therefore includes you vicariously taking the sins of others. There must be an end to this nonsense.
You shall henceforth take absolute charge in assigning cases or matters, especially political matters, personally. We shall make example with these three judges and never shall we condone such act.”
He equally warned the CJs from making newly appointed judicial officers vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced judges.
Meanwhile, a statement by the NJC Director of information, Soji Oye, said the CJN would invite all heads of courts to a meeting to reemphasise the need for the judiciary to be circumspect on the issue of granting ex parte orders.