PDP, Abia guber cases for investigation
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has vowed to probe judges involved in dishing out conflicting judgments which have embarrassed and ridiculed the nation’s judiciary in recent times.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who doubles as the Chairman of the NJC, confirmed this yesterday in Abuja during the new legal year of the Supreme Court and swearing in of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Already, the CJN revealed that the judges involved were already under investigation.
The action of the NJC is coming on the heels of criticisms and petitions against some serving judges over alleged judicial misconduct.
Most of the conflicting judgments emanated from legal actions arising from the brewing leadership in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the Abia governorship tussle.
The CJN was worried that the doctrine of stare decisis (decisions of courts) have been abandoned by judges who dished out conflicting decisions.
He was, particularly, pained by the fact that “several conflicting decisions were recklessly dished out by the Court of Appeal last year in appeals arising from various decisions of the election petition tribunals.
“Such decisions were made as the result of flagrant refusal of the panel’s of the Court of Appeal involved, to be bound, not only, by its own decision, but also by the decisions of this court.”
Justice Mohammed had earlier warned that the appointments of CJN should not be politicised.
He frowned at the trend where lawyers, litigants and members of the public route complaints against judicial officers through the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am most dismayed that legal practitioners, who ought to better appreciate the need for the independence of their primary constituency, would engage in this misguided practice.
“This dangerous new trend has borne itself out in various complaints, ranging from disparaging remarks against judges of our superior courts, to unprecedented, unwarranted and unfortunate personal attacks on judicial officers.
“I must admit that these cases were, particularly, distasteful and have been marked for action against the erring counsel by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
“This trend is a distressing indicator that, having overcome the evils of interference with the independence of our courts during the military era, some legal practitioners now engage in dragging the judiciary back into same bondage in this current democracy.
The Chief Justice, who is due for retirement from the bench in November, also warned that the appointment of Chief Justice of Nigeria should not be politicised.
Accordingly, Justice Mohammed urged the judiciary to strenuously resist lobbyists from interfering with the appointments of a new Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Justice Mohammed further cautioned that allowing lobbyists interfere with the appointment will “undoubtedly and irreversibly hurt our justice system”
He added that Constitution is clear as to the procedure that must be followed in appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court or a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria and such must be adhered to in appointing the next Chief Justice after his tenure.