Friday 28 October, 2016
It is said, that "conviction not acted upon, soon dies" -such is the fate of the apt words from the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Mahmud Mohammed, who charged that "judges who give conflicting judgments from precedents set by the same or higher courts are under probe." He made it clear that "it is also in the interest of the judiciary that those who engage in the abuses we witnessed so far are made to account."
Further in his remark, made at a special Supreme Court session to mark the opening of the 2016/2017 legal year, he emphasized that "while a failed judiciary may hamper the practice of lawyers and judges, it may even in some cases, result in national crisis. When parties approach the courts, they reasonably know what to expect, particularly where the superior courts have made pronouncements on the same subject matter. So, any judge that will allow his emotions to becloud the established standard of judicial precedence needs to be checkmated."
It was with optimism that the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, received this speech from the CJN; but contrary to the tone of these utterances, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has foot-dragged in the processes of probing, indicting and punishing judges who are found wanting.
It is not in contention that the case of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, is the biggest challenge the judiciary has encountered in the past one year following the federal government's disobedience to court orders. Mr Kanu's case has exposed the pseudo democracy and the rotten Nigerian judiciary to the world at large.
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In Kanu's case, conflicting judgments have been given, Contemnors have emerged, a judge has overruled his own ruling, oral application has been acted upon, civil trial application has been turned down and other judicial misconduct that has ranked it one of the most abused cases in recent times.
No doubt, Justice John Tsoho, the judge that has presided and denied Kanu justice from 25 January 2016 to 26 September 2016, sits at the apex of these judicial misconducts. Having availed himself as a willing tool in the hands of the federal government of Nigeria, Tsoho has dragged the Nigerian judiciary to the mud, he has desecrated the highly esteemed judicial system before bowing to pressures from NJC.
As NJC delayed in sacking Justice Tsoho, the federal government in the early hours of Saturday 8 October 2016, invaded the house of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court (the judge that ordered the 'unconditional release' of Nnamdi Kanu on 17 December 2015) as well as the houses of other 3 judges: Justices Nnamdi Dimgba (that refused to hear DSS' case on the grounds of 'Contempt of court'), Walter Onnogba and Sylvester Ngwuta, alleging them of corrupt practices.
It is manifest that the Nigerian judiciary is corrupt. It is undeniable that their judges are on a mission to defeat the very essence of the judiciary; but NJC's failure to swiftly probe the judges that defended the 'certificateless' president, it's failure to indict and punish John Tsoho created room for President Muhammadu Buhari's actions which further threatened the already imaginary democracy in Nigeria, owing to the manner the house raid was carried out.
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IPOB hereby urges NJC to be more proactive in its effort to sanitize the judiciary before Buhari further sinks her. Corrupt and reckless judges like Justice John Tsoho must be sacked without further hesitation if NJC hopes to redeem her image.
IPOB also pledges her support for this fight against corruption in the judiciary. As Nnamdi Kanu said at the Federal High Court on 26 September 2016 "anywhere we see corruption, we fight it. It doesn't matter who is involved." We are hopeful that Nnamdi Kanu's case will trigger off ethical practice in the weak, ineffectual and bootless Nigerian judiciary.
Written By Chinedu Ewulu
Published By Chijindu Benjmin Ukah
For Biafra Writers.