From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Freedom of Information (FOI) Counsel President Aigbokhan has tasked the Nigerian youths to tap from the resilient spirit of Oluwatobiloba Amusan and make the country regain its pride of place in the comity of nations.
He gave the task in Benin while speaking on what he titled “FOI Counsel congratulates Toby Amusan and Hon. Justice Ekaete Obot.
Aigbokhan said if Nigerians could emulate the never-say-die-spirit of the Nigerian athlete in whatever they are doing, the country will be placed in the right perspective for the betterment of all.
“Oluwatobiloba Amusan hits the world record of 12.05s giving the country her first ever World Champ gold. She was 11th in Rio 2016, 14th in London 2017, 4th in Doha 2019, 4th in Tokyo in 2021 and 1st in Oregon 2022. Indeed perseverance is not a journey, it is many short trips over and over again.
“Toby in 2016 tweeted “unknown now but soon I will be unforgettable. I will persist until I succeed.” While Toby Amusan made Nigeria proud, Hon Justice Ekaete of Akwa Ibom made a Nigerian lawyer Inibehe Effiong a hero.
“Inibehi was sent to prison by Hon Justice Ekaete Obot the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State. Inibehe filed an application for the judge to recluse herself. The moton remains unheard,” he said.
Aigbokhan said in his report on Endangered Lawyers published in January 2022, they identified contempt proceedings & harassment as clogs in the discharge of professional duties.
He said the impasse between Inibehi and the court has long been addressed by Hon. Justice Edokpaiyi (the former Chief Judge of Edo State) in his paper titled “Is it Contempt of Court or Abuse of Judicial Power? where he marked the need to balance the excess of the Bar and the Bench and with emergency
He said In the case of Candide Johnson v. Esther Edigin (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt. 129) 660 where a Chief Magistrate ordered the detention of a lawyer undergoing youth service for some minutes for refusing to tell the court when he was called to the bar.
He said the Court of Appeal described the action of the Magistrate as an abuse of judicial authority.
He further said that Achike JCA in its judgement in Candide Johnson case concluded that “it is clearly improper and will expose the administration of Justice to ridicule.”
He said Hon Justice Edokpaiyi strongly arrested the naked judicial power when he submitted that “what annoys a judge does not necessarily mean contempt. The power to punish for contempt is not the power to be recklessly used to assuage the injured feeling of the presiding judge.
“As we know power is not a blessing in itself save when it is not used for the advancement of a just society. t is now imperative for the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN) to release Guidelines for Judicial Officers on the transfer of cases and reclusion. Without a policy guide there are bound to be several other tests for how not to be a judge”, he said.
He maintained that in FOI Counsel’s latest newsletter titled Open Justice, “we talked about media coverage of judicial proceedings in line with the reality of new age justice. The court must understand that it is a basic principle of open justice to help reporters to have access to court
“It is of great concern that the NBA branches are fastly becoming an extension of arms of government.
” In recent times, they have failed to address the ills in their jurisdiction for appointive positions and financial support.
“As I celebrate with athlete Toby and Hon Justice Obot today, I say if you try and fail congratulations because most people don’t even try,” he said.