A Nigerian Lawyer, Fred Agbaje, on Monday berated the Federal Government for the “selective implementation” of court judgments, noting that such a trend would impede the development of the judiciary and the rule of law.
Appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Agbaje recalled a situation in June 2013, “when the same Federal High Court gave judgment in respect of Fresh Democratic Party” and nullified the de-registration of the Party.
“For one good year, INEC and Federal Government refused to obey that judgment,” he said, disclosing that a Motion For Stay and Notice of Appeal were received about two months ago.
According to him, the party did not sue for contempt because it knew what it would meet. He said that the party had been denied access to contest in the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, despite the court ruling.
“We didn’t know all along that they had their motives, only for us to get a motion asking that they are going to Court of Appeal, after depriving the beneficiary of that judgment the fruit of their hard-won victory, for one year. That is justice for you in this country”.
However, he lauded the judiciary, stating that “they’ve done well” and had played by the rule but that “only the politicians are refusing to tow the path of sanity”.
He encouraged legal practitioners to keep their heads up high, as “one misjudgment can cause havoc in the entire system and that’s why judges must be commended”.
He also commended Justice Adeniyi Ademola for his judgement on the Adamawa case, as well as the Federal Government of Nigeria for “the quick implementation” of the court ruling in favour of Ngilari, insisting that it was “a radical departure from the hitherto situation where a judgment had been given in black and white, but government agents started looking for loopholes not to obey it.
Referring to this case in Adamawa, Agbaje surmised that; “this selective implementation of judgment is not good for the development of the rule of law”. He also stated that he “might not be agreeable to that judgement”.
He noted that the peculiarity of every case determines that applicability of the principle of law and the interpretation to be given. “You cannot take hook, line and sinker the principle of law established in one case and use it as a statuette of general application for all other cases, without relating it to the facts before you.”
He argued that the former deputy governor, Bala Ngilari, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Umaru Fintiri, must never be allowed to benefit from their own wrongs, noting that the former deputy governor was well aware of his actions, when he submitted his resignation letter to the speaker.
He noted that the deputy governor did not “manifest the intention to resign”. “Did he actually intend to resign or was he just fooling the entire people of Adamawa state? He asked.
He further opined that the deputy governor should have refused to be intimidated to resign, but because he was afraid of being impeached along with the governor, he chose to “send them on a wild goose chase”.