Supreme Court Justices: NBA Shortlists Agbakoba, Eight Others

Supreme Court Justices: NBA Shortlists Agbakoba, Eight OthersThe Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has forwarded the names of nine eligible applicants to the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, Judicial Service Commission, Walter Samuel Onnoghen, for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

This followed a rigorous process of shortlisting done by a select committee chaired by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, with eight other eminent lawyers as members.

Applicants shortlisted by the NBA for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court are the following:

(1) Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
Year of Call: 1978
State:  Anambra

(2) Anthony Ikemefuna Idigbe, SAN
Year of Call:   1983
State: Delta

(3) Yunus Ustas Usman, SAN
Year of Call: 1983
State:  Kogi

(4) Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN
Year of Call: 1988
State:  Ondo

(5) Miannayaaja Essien, SAN
Year of Call: 1985
State:  Rivers

(6) Awa Uma Kalu, SAN
Year of Call: 1978
State: Abia

(7)  Professor Awalu Hamish Yadudu
Year of Call: 1979
State:  Kano

(8) Tajudeen Oladoja
Year of Call: 1985
State: Kwara

(9) Ayuba Giwa
Year of Call: 1983
State: Edo

The above mentioned applicants were shortlisted from a total of 89 Expressions of Interest that were scrutinized.

It would be recalled that the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, had earlier forwarded a request to the President of NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN  “to nominate suitable candidate for consideration as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

LEDAP Condemns Senate’s Decision To Summon Judges

LEDAP, Senate, JudgesThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the plan by the Senate Committee on Judiciary to summon the judges who were recently arrested by the DSS.

LEDAP’s National Coordinator, Mr Chino Obiagwu, in a statement on Sunday, notes that the legislature has no oversight power over judicial officers under the constitutional principle of separation of powers in sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution.

Mr Obiagwu explained that it is only the National Judicial Council (NJC) that has the power of control and discipline of judges and justices of superior courts in Nigeria.

“Any interference by the legislature or the executive into the conduct of judges in carrying out their judicial functions will amount to unlawful interference with the independence of the judiciary.

“The 1999 Constitution, unlike the legal framework of past military regimes, has consolidated the independence of the judiciary and established the NJC as the only body responsible for management of the judiciary,” he stated.

The statement further reads in part: “LEDAP is concerned that the recent raid and arrest of judges and justices by the DSS, and continued assault and raid on judges by other agencies of the executive, have the effect of opening up the judiciary to unlawful and unconstitutional interference and intimidation by other arms of government, the reason for which the Senate has the temerity to speak about inviting judicial officers for questioning.

“LEDAP will shortly approach the courts to seek orders restraining any such invitation or summon of the arrested judicial officers as it amounts to attempt to brow-beat and intimidate the judiciary.

“There are a lot of corruption issues and corrupt politicians in the legislature and executive which should preoccupy the Senators.

“The scandal arising from the padding of the budget, which has been going on for many years in the legislature with connivance of the executive, as well as bogus and secretive huge allowances and emoluments claimed by legislators are more damaging economic crimes against the Nigerian people that the Senate should address rather than intimidating few judges alleged to be corrupt.

“There are several court orders directing the National Assembly to disclose salaries and emoluments of its members, and details of constituency allowances claimed yearly by legislators. It has refused to obey these judgements of the courts.

“Nigerian legislators, adjudged as the most corrupt and most expensive in the world, has no legal or moral right to superintendent over alleged corruption in the judiciary.”

LEDAP called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to resist attempts by the executive and legislature “to control and manage the judiciary” as such situation will on the long run denigrate the judiciary and legal profession and threaten the rule of law.

Senior Nigerian Lawyers Back NBA’s Leave Suggestion For Arrested Judges

Abubakar-Mahmoud-NBA-President on arrested judges
President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, had condemned the arrest of the judges

The body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria has endorsed the recent call by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud, for the arrested judges to proceed on a leave of absence pending when they are cleared of all the allegations made against them.

The body met in Lagos on Saturday to review and endorse all actions taken by the NBA’s president so far on the incident.

Mr Mahmoud had said that the request was in order to protect the sanctity and integrity of judicial processes that may involve the judges concerned and to safeguard the public image of the institution.

He said that the recommendation was without prejudice to the innocence or otherwise of the judges involved in the ongoing investigations.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) had said on Saturday that it had opened investigation on complaints against the arrested judges, but that it had not received any complaint from the Department of State Services that arrested them.

“They should be required to recuse themselves from further judicial functions or required to proceed on compulsory leave until their innocence is fully and completely established or until the conclusion of all judicial or disciplinary proceedings,” Mr Mahmoud had insisted.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, reports that even though the meeting of the body of senior advocates was not open to journalists, those in attendance included the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, former presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association and other senior advocates.

Also in attendance was President Mahmoud’s main challenger in the July 2016 NBA presidential elections, Joe-Kyari Gadzama.

It is the first time the candidate is meeting with Abubakar Mahmoud after he assumed office as the 28th president of the NBA, giving an indication that despite the differences, the senior advocates are united in their stance on the efforts to fight corruption in the judiciary.

The body also reaffirmed its support for the NBA in its efforts to fight corruption in the bar and on the bench.

The NBA recently set up a task force to urgently review the current developments in the country and come up with clear specific recommendations on how best to clean up the nation’s judiciary and rebuild confidence of Nigerians in our law courts.

The report of the task force is to be submitted in the next two weeks.

On Friday, however, the NJC disagreed with the NBA on the alleged corruption case against some judges.

The NJC dismissed the call by the NBA for the judges under investigation to proceed on compulsory leave until their innocence is fully and completely established or until the conclusion of all judicial or disciplinary proceedings.

It said that it would be unlawful for it to yield to the call by the NBA, as “that position breaches the 2014 revised judicial discipline regulations formulated by NJC pursuant to section 160 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended”.

Several judges were few weeks ago arrested by security operatives of the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force on allegations of corruption and misconduct.

They were released on recognition few days after their arrest.

 

Mahmud Mohammed Cautions Judges Against Delay In Judgement

Mahmud Mohammed, JudgesThe Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has called on judges in Nigeria to reduce the delays in dispensing justice.

However, the Chief Justice asked them never to sacrifice justice for speed.

For the second time within two days, Justice Mohammed took a swipe at judges who give conflicting judgements.

He observed that such action threatens the integrity and the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.

The Judge stated that delays in dispensing justice in high profile cases and that of conflicting judgements were the major challenges that the judges must resolve in the new legal year.

He made the remarks on Tuesday at the second day of the Annual Judges Conference in Abuja, to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year.

Firmer And Unbiased Decisions

Justice Mohammed had earlier announced that the National Judicial Council (NJC) would probe judges involved in the recent conflicting judgments emanating from courts of equal jurisdiction.

He observed that the action of judges involved in conflicting judgments was embarrassing and warned against the politicising of the appointment of a Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Speaking at the same gathering, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta, asked the judges to be firmer and unbiased in their decisions.

Justice Auta, who highlighted the backdrop of the challenges and successes of the high courts during the last legal year, asked them to ensure that the decisions they take do not create room for anarchy.

NJC To Probe Judges Involved In Conflicting Judgments

Mahmud-NJC-Judges-CourtThe National Judicial Council (NJC) says it will probe judges involved in the recent conflicting judgments emanating from courts of equal jurisdiction.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, observed that the action of judges involved in conflicting judgments was embarrassing to the judiciary.

He announced the NJC’s decision on Monday at a special session to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year and the swearing in of 22 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria at the Supreme Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice Mohammed also warned against the politicising of the appointment of a Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He tasked the newly inducted senior advocates to be above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

The Chief Justice added that the council would not hesitate to sanction erring lawyers.

On his part, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, advised the new Senior Advocates to be patriotic.

The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Mister Olanrewaju Onadeko and the Secretary of the 2014 National Conference, Mrs Valerie Azinge, were among the new senior advocates.

They pledged the commitment of the new silks to uphold the ethics of the profession.

The conferment of the 22 Senior Advocates of Nigeria has increased the number of silks in the Nigerian Bar to 451.

Criminal Justice Reforms

Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has asked judges to be firmer and unbiased in their decisions.

Justice Auta, who highlighted the backdrop of the challenges and successes of the high courts during the last legal year, asked them to ensure that the decisions they take do not create room for anarchy.

Elsewhere, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo emphasised the need for far-reaching reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system and the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force for effective service delivery.

Professor Osinbajo made the call in Abeokuta, Ogun State’s capital at the 20th celebration of the death of the late Mrs Bisoye Tejuoso.

He expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to sustaining the anti-corruption crusade.

The Vice President asked Nigerians to rise up against corrupt individuals and groups who were bent on fighting back despite the genuine interest of government.

EFCC Should Be Stripped Of Prosecution Duties, Says Mahmoud

 EFCC, Prosecutional duties, Mahmoud Abubakar, Investigative Powers,Prosecutional PowersThe newly elected president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, is not softening his stance that the EFCC be stripped of its prosecution powers.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast program, Sunrise Daily, Mr Mahmoud insisted that critical institutions of government must be reformed to confront the problem of corruption in Nigeria, on a sustainable basis.

Following his inaugural speech on Friday, there have been agitations since the NBA president suggested that duties of the EFCC should be restricted to investigation and not prosecution.

In reaction to the statement, the commission said that the suggestion was a cleverly disguised plan by the NBA and groups of people who were against the EFCC’s anti-graft campaign.

The NBA president in response, maintained that the controversy was unnecessary, as the association does not seek to emasculate the EFCC.

To further clarify the issue, he said that “when it comes to prosecution, there are two major powers which are the investigative and [email protected]

According to him, the norm is that separate agencies conduct investigations and prosecutions, but he also said there could be exceptions.

Explaining the duties of the EFCC, he said the commission was only supposed to focus on highly specialised areas, such as financial crimes of certain magnitude.

“You can’t have the EFCC operating broadly and getting into everything without any thresholds.

“The law must define the thresholds and the parameters on the basis of which the EFCC will now wade into those sort of battles,” he added.

Mr Mahmoud stressed that he understood the extent of the prosecution and investigative powers and also the need to regulate them; as they should not be handled solely by one body.

Proper Regulatory Framework

He maintained his position, saying that any decision taken by prosecutors is a very important one and there should always be clear institutional safeguards as well as a proper regulatory framework, to guarantee justice and fairness.

The lawyer further encouraged Nigerians and institutional bodies to debate issues without fear of intimidation.

Giving reasons for his suggestion, Mr Mahmoud further stated that there was no institutional form that should be sacrosanct in any democratic environment.

“Every institution should be scrutinised.

“Its performance and responsibilities should be continually subjective to discussion,” the NBA president added.

Sanusi Withdraws Case Against Government

sanusi_lamidoA Former Governor of Central Bank and the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, has formally withdrawn his lawsuit challenging his removal as the governor of the Apex Bank.

His lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, told the National Industrial Court that Mr Sanusi who is now the Emir of Kano wishes to withdraw his case against President Goodluck Jonathan and two other defendants in the suit.

The defendants did not oppose the request and the president of the court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo struck out the suit.

Hearing was expected to continue in the suit, but the Emir requested that the suit be discontinued.

The Federal Government on its part asked that the court should hear its motion challenging the ruling of the Federal High Court which declined jurisdiction in the suit but went ahead to transfer the case to the National Industrial Court.

Lawyer to the Federal Government, however, said he would toe the line of the Emir, “if he (Sanusi II) withdraws his other suits pending in both the Federal High Court and the Appeal Court.

Having listened to the parties, Justice Adejumo adjourned the case to the November 7 to hear the motion filed by the government and urged the parties to explore an out of court settlement.

NNPC Vs House Of Reps: Court Orders House To Correct Impression

house_of_repsA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has asked the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts to address a news conference to correct the erroneous impression that the court issued an order restraining the House from investigating the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to the plaintiffs, Mr Etigwe Uwa, berated the actions of the House of Representatives for stalling the hearing of the suit challenging the constitutionality of the House of Representatives’ summon to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and some parastatals under the ministry.

Lawyer to the House of Representatives, Abubakar Mahmoud, however, apologised to the court for the misrepresentation of facts by his client, saying that it was not done intentionally.

Efforts by the plaintiff’s counsel to move his application for an order restraining the House of Representatives from investigating the Minister of Petroleum Resources was turned down by the court as Justice Ahmed Mohammed promised an accelerated hearing of the suit.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, after listening to all the parties adjourned the hearing of the suit to June 19 and ordered that all processes must be served before the date.

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Account had on Thursday, May 22, issued fresh summons to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, to appear before it over the alleged expenses of 10billion Naira on private jets.

Also summoned were the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu; Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Engr. Saleh Dunoma; the Managing Director of Pipeline and Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPPMC, Mr Haruna Momoh; Vistajet International Limited and other stakeholders.