CJN Advocates Judiciary, Financial Sector Partnership To End Nigeria’s Recession

CJN, Recession, NigeriaThe Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed, has called for collaboration between the judiciary and the financial sector to resolve the nation’s economic challenges.

Justice Mohammed made the call when he announced that the judiciary was developing a multi-track justice delivery system that embraces “alternative dispute resolution”.

He made the announcement at a seminar for judges organised by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Chief Justice believed that the judiciary could step up its processes by collaborating with the financial sector.

He stated that one way of delivering speedy and amicable justice was the alternative dispute resolution.


Justice Mohammed was optimistic that the banking sector would embrace initiative for an efficient and effective collaboration with the judiciary.

The Judges’ Sensitisation Seminar was attended by High Court judges across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Managing Director of NDIC, Umaru Ibrahim, informed the gathering that the meeting was convened to create a synergy between the judicial officers and the financial sector, especially in the light of Nigeria’s economic recession.

Supreme Court Gives EFCC Right To Prosecute EX-Gov Orji Kalu

Orji KaluThe Supreme Court in Nigeria has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a ‘go-ahead’ to prosecute the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, on a 107-count charge bordering on corruption.

The charge predicated on alleged complicity of the former Governor in money laundering and illegal diversion of public funds of about 5.6 billion Naira.

Mr Kalu was alleged to have perpetuated the fraud between 1999 and 2007 while he was the Governor of Abia State.

The anti-graft agency had brought Mr Kalu before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on July 27, 2007. But through various interlocutory applications Mr Kalu had frustrated moves to open the case.

He had challenged the competence of the charge against him, as well as the jurisdiction of the High Court to hear and determine the case.

After the the trial court refused to quash the charge, Kalu, took the case before the Court of Appeal in Abuja which in a unanimous judgment, upheld the competence of the charge.

The Appeal Court stressed that the High Court had power to exercise jurisdiction on the trial, a ruling that Mr Kalu was not satisfied with.

He approached the Supreme Court, requesting that it set-aside the concurrent verdicts of the two lower courts.

The former Governor, through his lawyer, Mr Awa Kalu, pleaded with a five-man panel of Justices of the apex court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, to quash the criminal charge against him.

He contended that “the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie nexus linking him to the ingredients of the offence contained in the charge and that the proof of evidence that the anti-graft agency presented against him did not nail him to the commission of any crime”.

In a unanimous judgment on Friday the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, asking the EFCC to carry on with the case.

Delivering the lead verdict, Justice Suleiman Galadima upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision, saying that the apex court was satisfied that the former Governor had a case to answer, pertaining to allegations that were levelled against him by the EFCC.

S/Arabia Stampede: CJN Confirms Death Of Two Justices

S/Arabia Stampede: CJN Confirms Death Of Two JusticesThe Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has confirmed the death of two Court of Appeal justices among those who died during the deadly stampede at Mina, Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

A statement issued by the CJN gave the names of the deceased as Justice Abdulkadir Jega, who is the brother of the past INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega; and Justice Musa Hassan Alkali of the Ilorin Division.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Gombe State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr Usman Arabia, says that some pilgrims have not been located since Thursday.

He added that members of the medical team had been checking hospitals and mortuaries with a view to locating them or their remains.

However, Mr Arabia noted that for now, it is yet to be confirmed whether they were among those who died as a result of Thursday’s incident at the stone throwing venue, where over 700 pilgrims died.

NJC Meets Thursday To Appoint New Chief Justice of Nigeria

Chief JusticeThe National Judicial Council is scheduled to meet on Thursday to deliberate on the appointment of a new Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN.

The current CJN, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, who is the first female and the 13th indigenous CJN, will retire on Nov 20 upon attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Barring any last minute change, Mukhtar is likely to be succeeded by Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who is currently the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court.

In fulfillment of constitutional provisions on the appointment of the CJN, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, FJSC had met on October 23 and submitted a list of the next three most senior Justices of the Supreme Court to the NJC.

The NJC is expected to meet on Thursday to recommend one of those on the list to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Top on the FJSC’s recommended list is Justice Mohammed, who is currently the Deputy Chairman of the NJC. The CJN is the Chairman of both the NJC and the FJSC.

Others on the list are said to be two other Justices of the Supreme Court in order of seniority, Justices Walter Onnoghen and Tanko Muhammad.

Usually, the most senior among those recommended by the FJSC, and who is next to the outgoing CJN is appointed the new Chief Justice by the President.

The President’s choice often requires approval by the Senate in line with section 231(1) of the Constitution.

A source at the FJSC, who is familiar with the processes of appointing the nation’s CJN, confirmed the development to Channels Television correspondent on Sunday.

“By sending additional two names to accompany the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court is just to fulfil all righteousness. It is almost certain that the NJC at its meeting on Thursday will recommend Justice Mohammed to the President and the President will then appoint him as the next CJN,” the source said.

Paragraph 21(a) and (a) (i) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guides the appointment of the CJN, Justices/judges and heads of various federal courts, says,

“The National Judicial Council shall have power to:

“Recommend to the President from among the list of persons submitted to it by – the Federal Judicial Service Commission, persons for appointment to the offices of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge and judges of the Federal High Court.”

Nigeria At 54: Citizens On Social Media Demand Independence Gifts

#54thIndependenceGiftThousands of Nigerians have used the social media platform to express their expectations from the country as it celebrates its 54th Independence Anniversary.

The Tuesday evening social media opinion poll by Channels Television’s Web Unit, using the hash-tag #54thIndependenceGift, asked followers, “What special gift would you want from Nigeria as it celebrates its 54th Independence Anniversary?”

Majority of the Nigerian respondents on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ were unanimous in telling the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, that the best gift he could give Nigerians would be to put an end to insurgency in the country.

While Okeme Emmanuel David clamoured for better attention for victims of the crisis in the North-East, saying “Pacifying me for the loss of my father in the Boko Haram insurgency 3 weeks ago” would be the ideal gift, another respondent looks forward to a day when the slogan ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ would change to ‘Our Girls Are Back’.

Stanley Uchenna said, “At 54, I believe as a woman she (Nigeria) has stopped giving birth and will only be bothered with her Children’s upbringing. So all I want is peace, security of lives and property, respect of fundamental human rights and corrupt free nation where each and everyone will be treated equally before the law without nepotism, tribalism and favoritism.”

Osawaru Rychiee Iguodala states directly, “The special gift I want is for the Boko Haram insurgents to be completely crushed so peace and security of lives can return to the north-east of Nigeria.”

Also dominant among the requests by the Nigerian online community were the clamour for uninterrupted power supply, job creation, free education and respect for the rule of law.

Ayodele Omoniyi ‘Valvic’; “Power Stability is what I desire from this Government. It is a sector that revolves around every sector of our economy. Unemployment will be stemmed, (there will be) more research, innovations, business opportunities, reduced prices of goods and services and so on.”#54thIndependenceGift

While some were subtle in their approach, acknowledging the efforts of the Federal Government in different sectors, others were direct, making passionate pleas to the President. Some also directed their requests at agencies whose services they have not been satisfied with.

The National Conference, which ended in August 2014, also got several mentions from the social media users, contrary to beliefs in some quarters that Nigerians do not expect that anything good would come out of it.

Simon Samson said, “My expected gift is that our lawmakers should adopt all the recommendations from the National Conference into our constitution.”

Other prominent requests include a renewed commitment to credible elections in 2015, renewed fight against corruption, reduction in the allowances of public officers, public support for the military in its fight against terror, as well as condusive environment for small businesses to thrive.

#54thIndependenceGiftWith the over 1,000 responses received, it became obvious that Nigerians at home and abroad are not particular about the political affiliations of their leaders as long as they can enjoy the dividends of being citizens of a democratic sovereign nation.

Also heart warming is that in spite of the security challenges in the country, the citizens remain committed to having a united Nigeria with their generous display of patriotism and the Nigerian spirit, which believes in the future of the country.

Davidmary Ikpherua said, “I should rather present a gift to Nigeria with my little contribution to nation building in terms of entrepreneurial and job creation mechanism. Every Nigerian should do something good to make this nation better. Happy Independence.”

Ladun Elujoba sums up the evening by requesting from all Nigerians that they “should all act (the words of) our national anthem and pledge” with Femi Yusuf adding that “a change in the Nigerian mindset and mentality would be a most perfect gift for independence.”

President Goodluck Jonathan, during his Independence Day broadcast, made a promise to Nigerians, that “This administration is committed to making Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our political persuasion”, acknowledging “the great toll the conflict is taking on our people”, he asked all those waging war against the country to lay down their arms and embrace peace, adding that the Government would continue to deploy resources in the fight against the terrorists.

A day “when our nation will be turned into Africa’s food basket, where poverty and crime will be a thing of the past, where tribal and religious affiliation will not determine the right to leadership, but values,” that is the best gift Makanjuola Adebunmi can ever dream of. After all, as citizens of a great nation, Nigerians have the rights to big dreams.

Read the full conversation HERE

Nigeria’s Independence Celebration Should Focus On Judicial System – Lawyer

bisi lawyerA Legal Practitioner, Bisi Adegbuyi has said that as Nigeria turns 54 on October 1, there should be a focus on the judicial system.

He noted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar, has been able to curb corruption in the system, but noted that the system “as a whole needs to be reformed.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he stated that there are a lot of corrupt people that work in the registry which tends to delay justice when there is a case in court.

He highlighted some recommendations that will help the judiciary system, such as legal education, appointment of judicial officers, remuneration, funding of judiciary and role of technology in delivery of justice.

Mr. Adegbuyi stressed the need for state governments to release funds to their judicial arms in order to ensure an independent judiciary that will perform their responsibility and reduce corruption in the sector.

He suggested that advertisement of judges should be done by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), “qualified people should apply, go through a process of interview, so that the qualified people get the post.

“We need God fearing people as judges, if you say you want to be a judge then you must live a life that should be expected from a person that is a judge because that is a crucial role”, he said.

Speaking on accessibility of the poor to the judicial system, he opined that “we have lost our values” adding that “people who are not supposed to be celebrated are celebrated because they have access to wealth”, stressing that the judicial system must be well funded so that people on the street can have access to the system.

He also stated that part of the recommendations given at the just concluded National Conference, was that there should be a small claims court for little issues such as petty thieves to prevent the regular delays in court.

 

 

 

Lawyer Claims Constitution Of NJC Members Is Totally ‘Skewed’

Richard Nwankwo, a legal practitioner while accessing Nigeria’s judiciary on the mid-term report of the Jonathan administration said the legal arm has fared well but it does need a lead way for improvement.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, Mr. Nwankwo stated that the judiciary should be firm when dealing with issues whilst he called for a thorough procedure in the Constitution of members of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

He said that the judiciary should be firm adding that the constitution of NJC members is “grossly skewed.”

He argued that an “organization like NJC is very sensitive and the appointing power resting solely on the CJN is very unacceptable.”

Referring to the statement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Aloma Mukhtar that“if a judge fails to deliver a minimum of four judgments in a year the judge should be sanctioned”, Mr Nwankwo said the implication of such a remark is that a lot of judicial officers will fall below that bench mark.

 

Attorney General is example of lawyer misleading clients – Jiti Ogunye

Against the background of the comments of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who during the swearing in of 25 Senior Advocate of Nigeria accused lawyers of deliberately misleading their clients, Jiti Ogunye, a Lagos based  legal practitioner said the AGF is a worse example of what he is criticizing.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s morning programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogunye asked “So what has the Attorney General been doing to the Federal government on many issues including that of Justice Salami?”

Watch the video below for more:

Chief Justice swears in Falana, 24 others as Senior Advocates

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Alooma Mukhta on Wednesday swear in twenty Five lawyers who were recently elevated to the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) as part of activities marking the commencement of a new legal year by the Supreme Court.

Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana and the others were conferred as senior advocates by the Legal Practitioners Privileges committee. The elevation, the Committee said, was in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioners’ Act 2004.

Those who were sworn in alongside Mr Falana included: Yemi Akinseye-George, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Dakas Clement James Dakas, Joy Okungbowa Adesina, Connie – Jeanne Aremu, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, Garuba Usman Tetengi, Henry Oghogho Ogbodu, Selekeowei Larry, Abenny O. Mohammed and Charles Nwanne Obishai.

Others are Luke Chukwudi Illogu, Francis Chuka Agbo, Paul C. Ananaba, Akinlaja Dayo Moses, Ahmed Raji, Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya, Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso, Oluseye Samuel Opasanya, Aderoja Claudius Olumiyiwa, Aliyu Umar, Illo Katune Sanusi, Rotimi Jacobs and Ndukwe A. Nnawuchi.
Justice Mukhta praised the Supreme Court Practice Direction signed into law by the past Administration for contributing to the speedy conclusion of election cases.

“In this new legal year, our efforts will be redoubled to ensure that the confidence bestowed on us by the people and by God will not be thrown into the abyss,” she said.

The Chief Justice said there are presently an estimated 40,000 prisoners in Nigeria with about two thirds of this population not convicted.
She said that perhaps the Amnesty International is correct for laying the blame on the Nigerian judiciary where cases are unnecessarily adjourned.

She commended the efforts of some state administration aimed at introducing alternative punitive measures as a way of prison decongestion and praised Community service, non-custodian sentences and probation as having great benefits to the government and the society at large.

Also speaking at the event, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke called for a rethinking in the elevation of persons to the rank of senior advocates of Nigeria. He observed that the general perception is that being a SAN offers legal practitioners license to charge very fat legal fees.

“In popular discourse within and outside the profession, there is a palpable feeling or perception that the rank is a passport to fame, personal riches and comfort. To others, the rank is a license to command fat fees, open doors and prominence bordering sometimes on arrogance. It is a matter of regret that these negative perceptions of the rank have engendered resentment from our colleagues who are yet to be similarly recognised and honoured”

He said the position of senior advocates of Nigeria places a duty and responsibility on the bearer to the profession.

He called on the new senior advocates as leaders of the Bar, to behave in a manner befitting the rank.

Jonathan directs new CJN to create special court for corruption and Terrorism cases

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday asked the new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Aloma Mukhtar, to create special courts for terrorism and corruption related cases.

President Goodluck Jonathan in a handshake with the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar

The president made this request at the State House, Abuja after swearing-in Justice Mukhtar as the first female and 13th indigenous CJN.

He said that the security challenges in some parts of the country called for concerted actions by the three arms of government.

Mr Jonathan also advised the new Justice Mukhtar to designate judicial officers with wealth of experience in criminal jurisprudence and terrorism to preside over the special courts for outstanding results.

“I am confident that the judiciary under your able leadership will rise up to the challenge and provide the most needed support for government to address these challenges,” the president said.

“Our citizens complain of delayed trials particularly in cases of corruption, terrorism and other matters of serious concern.

“These complaints have led to frequent calls for special courts or designation of special judges to handle them with the required experience and speed.

“It will be your prerogative to consider and decide on this call. But I am sure that the entire country is in agreement that justice delayed is justice denied.’’

Mr Jonathan charged the new CJN to fulfil her promise of reforming the judiciary, as made during her confirmation by the Senate.

He said that the independence of the judiciary was critical to national development and survival, and called on the new CJN to ensure timely justice delivery.

The President said though his administration had remained focused in projecting women, but the CJN achieved the outstanding feat of becoming Nigeria’s first female Chief Justice of Nigeria on account of her brilliance, resilience and hard work.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is the hand of destiny in the life of this distinguished jurist. From the records, her lordship has always been a trailblazer in her judicial journey.

“She was the first female lawyer of the Northern extraction, the first female high court judge from the North, first female second in command Kano State judiciary, the first Nigerian female jurist to be elevated to the Court of Appeal where she served for over 17 years at the appellate court.

“Today, she has risen to the pinnacle of her judicial career as the first female CJN in further service of our great country. My lord, I congratulate you.

“Her lordship’s achievement is an inspiration to all citizens especially womanhood not only in Nigeria but also in Africa and the rest of the world.

“The Honourable CJN now joins an eminent and exclusive list of achievers recognised throughout the world as beacon of hope in this century,’’ he said.

Justice Musdapher is honoured

The President thanked the immediate past CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher for the spirited efforts he made to restore public confidence in the judiciary within his short tenure in office.

“We wish Justice Musdapher, a well-deserved retirement and hope that he will avail his wealth of experience in the continued service of our nation especially as he is now a member of Council of State,’’ he said.

President Jonathan conferred on Justice Mukhtar the honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger, GCON; the second highest national honour in Nigeria.

Mukhtar sworn in as first female Chief Justice of Nigeria

From left, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Vice President Namadi Sambo, New CJN, Justice Alooma Mukhtar, President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate President David Mark during the swearing in of the new CJN in Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said that he is confident that the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alooma Mariam Mukhtar will reform and reposition the judiciary for the effective and efficient discharge of its constitutional mandate.

The president was speaking in the presidential villa after swearing in the CJN in the presidential villa.

He said that Justice Mukhtar is presiding over the judiciary at a time of profound changes that demand united response but that he is confident that the challenges can be confronted head on.

Mr Jonathan pointed at security challenges and the terrorism, and called on the three arms of government to work together to overcome the threats.

He asked the CJN to rise up and provide the necessary support to address corruption pointing out that the complain about lengthy trials especially in cases of corruption, terrorism and other matters of serious public concern should be considered to avoid the delay in justice for all.

Justice Dahiru Musdapher on Sunday bowed out as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) having attained the retirement age of 70 years.

Musdapher calls for reforms as he bids farewell to Judiciary

Justice Dahiru Musdapher on Friday bowed out as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) having attained the retirement age of 70 years.

At a valedictory service held in his honor, Justice Musdapher advocated the creation of an Independent body other than the National Judicial Council, for the discipline and removal of Judges.

Justice Musdapher noted that investigation of allegation of impropriety against judicial officers is too cumbersome for the NJC which is saddled with other responsibilities.

He said the system which has been adopted by most Commonwealth countries, is in a better position to deal with issues of discipline and removal as opposed to an institution that is largely managed by those it is supposed to regulate.

Present at the occasion were governors of Kogi, Bauchi, Ekiti and Jigawa also present were retired justices of the Supreme court and the Appellate court ,members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the body of senior Advocates, federal lawmakers, traditional rulers, the mother of the retiring chief justice and other well wishers.

Soon after Justice Musdapher filed into the court to perform his last duty as the head of the nations judiciary, he swore-in two newly appointed justices of the supreme court, Justice Musa Dantijo Muhammed and Justice Clara Ogunbiyi.

Justice Musdapher outlined some of his achievements as the chief justice, one of which is the 47 amendments sought as part of the reform of the judiciary, he urged the National Assembly to be pro-active in passing the laws.

The outgoing chief justice also gave a score card of the Supreme Court at the end of the 2012 legal year.

He also made a case for another body to be responsible for judicial discipline and removal as the role has become too cumbersome for the National Judicial Commission.

His Lordship then bowed out of the court as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, having served thirty-three of his forty-four years career on the bench.

Delays in handling corruption cases

The outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria explained the reasons why his directive to all courts in the country to dispose of all corruption cases within the last six months were not achieved.

According to him, the major reason is the cumbersome nature of the various charge sheets which contains so many counts charges making it difficult to prosecute.

Justice Musdapher blames the anti-graft agencies who arrest and charge suspected offenders before concluding investigations making them largely unprepared for trial.

He also blames defence lawyers whom he says have perfected strategies for stalling the trial processes via the filing of pointless interlocutory appeals.

This he said has necessitated the need for a speedy amendment of the  relevant  sections of the constitutions to block all loop holes  for unjustified invocation of the right of appeal.