Wednesday 26 October, 2016
Court is an entity created by the government to administer justice through the enactment of statues or by constitutional provisions for the purpose of enforcing the law for public good. In other words, the whole essence of the court is chiefly to uphold "justice" -this in turn, dissuades intending culprits and sustains the rule of law amongst the populace.
With this in mind, any community, nation or country that wants to achieve a significant level of order and amity within its entity or in relationship with others, must nurture and defend the rule of law. It must ensure also that proceedings are conducted in a fair and unbiased manner to bolster public confidence.
More to this, when a person or group of persons willfully disobeys court orders, which is often referred to as "Contempt of Court", the person or group is declared to have been "found" or "held" in "Contempt"; while the person is referred to as a Contemnor -in which case, it still lies within the judge's powers to impose sanctions against offenders.
Read also:BIAFRA: NNAMDI KANU’S 365 DAYS IN ILLEGAL DETENTION: CHRONICLE OF EVENTS, IMPLICATIONS AND WAY FORWARD.
It was on this note that Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed, stated that "such departures from precedent therefore risk creating the type of confusion which is inimical to the trust reposed in us by the people and we risk our reputations, our integrity and even our existence by such indiscipline."
NNAMDI KANU'S CASE AND JUSTICE TSOHO'S ROLE:
Contrary to these established judicial processes, Justice John Tsoho, the judge that presided and deliberately prolonged Nnamdi Kanu's (leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB) case from 25 January 2016 till 26 September 2016, has been a misrepresentation of ethical legal practice and derision of the judiciary.
Call to mind that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court Abuja, had ordered the "immediate and unconditional release" of Nnamdi Kanu on 17 December 2015. This was not obeyed by the Department of the State Security Services, DSSS.
Read also:BIAFRA: NJC MUST SACK JOHN TSOHO TO REDEEM THE IMAGE OF THE JUDICIARY--By Ejike Ofoegbu
As a result, on 23 December 2015, Justice Adeniyi A. refused to hear the fresh count charges by the DSSS against Nnamdi Kanu, saying that it was needless since the Federal Government had repeatedly disobeyed previous court rulings.
On the same note, Mr Kanu, expressed dismay in the Nigerian judiciary saying "I will not sacrifice the due process of the law founded in the principles of natural justice upon the altar of speedy release from detention. I will rather remain in detention than subjecting myself to a trial that I know amounts to perversion of justice.
He went further to state that "previous court judgments and rulings have been delivered by competent courts of law in Nigeria in my favour which the DSS failed to obey nor implement. On that premise, I am not ready to stand before this court for trial because I am convinced that the outcome will go in the way of the previous ones. Therefore, I have chosen to remain in custody until justice prevails in my matter in the interest of justice."
Despite Justice Adeniyi's rulings, Justice Tsoho has disobeyed those orders and has been giving conflicting rulings even to his own rulings.
Read also:Breaking: Tyrant Buhari Finally Lands Justice Binta Nyako From His State ( Katsina)To Take Over Nnamdi Kanu's Case: Fixes November 8 For Hearing To Clash With Ecowas
To this regards, Nnamdi Kanu's defence team filed a petition against Justice Tsoho in May 2016. According to the defence counsel, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, "the petition we wrote against him (Justice Tsoho) to the NJC, rose from his judicial misconducts, the manner in which he delivered a ruling, refusing application to conduct a civil trial on 19 February 2016, and then on the 7th of March 2016. The matter was slated for hearing, he made a volte-face and vacated that order upon an oral application which is unheard of. It is not obtainable in the law of practice.
"So that's the fulcrum of our petition before NJC and the excessive delay in availing us the rulings of the court delivered within constitutionally provided time; his conduct in the open court, the way and manner in which he attacked me in person and also some other lawyers; his remarks and swipes taken on me. So all these are combination of factors that gave rise to the petition written against him before the NJC."
Ejiofor further explained that "if the NJC finds merit in the petition, there MUST be sanctions and that sanction does not have anything to do with whether the case has been transferred to another judge or not."
Read also:BIAFRA: UNTIL JOHN TSOHO IS SACKED, NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL CANNOT REALIGN THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM
"Judges and scholars have defended the practices of indefinite jail term (for contemnors) because the contemnor "carries the keys to his prison in his own pocket" and can be released by complying with the court." (In re Nevitt, 117F. 448 [8th Cir 1902]).
In civil contempt, as in Justice Tsoho's case, the contemnor is usually relieved of his duties and subsequently incarcerated if he still poses a threat to the administration of justice in the case. He is released as soon as the case is settled by the court.
According to "legal dictionary", "the essence of contempt of court is that the misconduct impairs the fair and efficient administration of justice. Contempt statues generally require that the actions present a 'Clear and Present Danger' that threatens the administration of justice."
With these on ground, Justice Tsoho had hurriedly disqualified himself from Nnamdi Kanu's case on 26 September 2016, arguing that the defence counsels had no confidence on him. Tsoho further noted that "even if I am cleared of any bias by the NJC, I will not continue with this case."
Even to this end, IPOB has insisted that justice must prevail -that Tsoho must be punished for his reckless and corrupt practices over Nnamdi Kanu's case. IPOB noted that sacking and jailing Justice Tsoho will serve as a deterrent to other corrupt Justices and a big step towards redeeming the already battered image of the Nigerian judiciary.
Written By Chinedu Ewulu
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers.