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.

Ibrahim Auta Asks Judges To Be Unbiased

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

The judge made the call at a special court session to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 Legal Year in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He highlighted the backdrop of the challenges and successes of the high courts during the last legal year.

Justice Auta asked the judges to ensure that the decisions they take do not create room for anarchy.

However, he expressed satisfaction over the speedy adjudication of justice during the 2015/2016 legal year.

The judge stated that out of the over 16,000 cases filed between September 2015 and June 2016, at least 13,000 were disposed of.

PDP Crisis: Federal High Court Upholds Sheriff’s Leadership

PDP, SheriffA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has affirmed Mr Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to Justice Okon Abang, only actions and decisions made by the Sheriff-led leadership are lawful and binding.

He, however, said that although he has the powers to nullify the ruling of the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court, which recognized the Makarfi-led leadership, he would not do so because there is no application to that effect before him.

Hence he would allow the Court of Appeal to do justice to that.

The court held that the convention held in Port-Harcourt on May 20, was held in violation of the two court orders of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court which barred the PDP and INEC from holding the convention.

Justice Okon Abang, in his ruling barred the Makarfi-led caretaker committee from exercising any authority or taking any decision on behalf of the PDP henceforth on account of been an illegal body.

According to Justice Abang, the Makarfi-led group missed their way to Port Harcourt to obtain a judgement from a division of the Federal High Court which is a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction to that of Lagos to obtain a favorable judgement.

And that the judgment which recognized the Makarfi-led caretaker committee is unlawful, illegal and has no foundation in law to stand.

He held that until the orders made by the Lagos division of the Federal High Court which restrained PDP from holding a convention at the time it did was set aside, anything done in contravention of the two subsisting orders are unlawful, illegal and should not be recognized.

The Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP had approached an FCT High Court challenging the power of Justice Okon Abang to hear the suit filed by Senator Sheriff.

They specifically asked the court to restrain Justice Abang on the grounds that there is a circular from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court restraining all judges handling PDP leadership tussle cases to stop further action pending the outcome of the appeals before the appellate court.

But the prayers were not granted by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, who held that the application lacks merit, as the applicant who is listed as PDP is not a natural person as such not entitled to any fundamental human rights.

This was after Mr Ali Modu Sheriff and eight others approached the Federal High Court, Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party from conducting the national convention slated for August 17.

He also wanted an order restraining the PDP from presenting anybody or sponsoring any person for election into its offices pending determination of the suit.

He asked for an ancillary order directing the Nigerian Police to enforce the orders of the court until all applications are disposed of.

Sheriff Files Suit To Restrain PDP From Conducting National Convention

PDP, SheriffSacked factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and eight others have approached the Federal High Court, Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party from conducting the national convention slated for August 17.

He also wants an order restraining the PDP from presenting anybody or sponsoring any person for election into its offices pending determination of the suit.

He asked for an ancillary order directing the Nigerian Police to enforce the orders of the court until all applications are disposed of.

While this was going on, the Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP approached an FCT High Court challenging the power of Justice Okon Abang to hear the suit filed by Senator Sheriff.

They specifically asked the court to restrain Justice Abang on the grounds that there is a circular from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court restraining all judges handling PDP leadership tussle cases to stop further action pending the outcome of the appeals before the appellate court .

But the prayers were not granted by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, who held that the application lacks merit, as the applicant who is listed as PDP is not a natural person as such not entitled to any fundamental human rights.

The Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta had on the July 8 directed all judges of the Federal High Court to stay clear of any matter concerning the PDP crisis pending the determination of appeals before the appellate court.

It is not clear if Justice Okon Abang, who is in procession of the case filed by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff will hear the case.

PDP Youths Protest Alleged Plot To Scuttle Convention

PDP Youths, convention The National Youth Movement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has protested against an alleged plot to use the Federal High Court to scuttle the rescheduled national convention of the party.

The youths, baring placards with several inscriptions on Wednesday staged the protest outside the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The National Director of the movement, Mr Ohazuruike Tochukwu, told journalists that they were at the court to submit a petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta.

He urged Justice Auta to intervene, adding that the matter before the court had already been determined by a similar court in Port Harcourt and maintained that dissatisfied parties could only go on appeal.

The petition indicated that multiple cases were instituted by several parties in various divisions of the Federal High Court.

CCT Trial: Judge Accedes To Saraki’s Request, Orders Kafarati To Deliver Judgment

kidnappingThe Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta has acceded to the request by Senate President, Bukola Saraki to direct one of the judges serving under him, Justice Abdul Kafarati to deliver judgment in his (Saraki’s) case.

Saraki, who is standing trial for alleged false assets declaration before the Code of Conduct Tribunal had sued the Chairman, Danladi Umar and others involved in his trial before the Federal High Court.

Saraki in the suit is contending that his trial before the code of conduct tribunal, as currently constituted is a violation of his right, insisting there was no way he could get justice.

It is also Saraki’s contention that while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating Umar for alleged bribery and at the same time prosecuting him before the tribunal, it will be impossible for the Chairman to do justice and act independently in his (Saraki’s) case.

Having taken arguments from parties in the case, Justice Kafarati had scheduled judgment for March 22, but when parties arrived court, he changed his mind at the last minute and informed parties that he was withdrawing from the case and returning the case file to Justice Auta for reassignment to another judge.

Justice Kafarati hinged his decision on publications by some on-line media, which he said had cast him in bad light and portrayed him as been biased.

With the case file returned to Justice Kafarati, judgment has been fixed for Friday, April 15.

Kashamu’s Drug Case: Judge Vows Not To ‘Hands Off’

KashamuA judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Ibrahim Buba, has refused to disqualify himself from adjudicating on a suit filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu.

Senator Kashamu wants the court to restrain the Federal Government from seizing his properties over drug trafficking allegations.

He sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Attorney-General of the Federation from taking possession of his properties

‘Hands Off’

Justice Buba had earlier restrained the NDLEA from arresting or extraditing Kashamu to the United States of America, where he is allegedly wanted.

But the NDLEA asked the judge to ‘hands off’ the trial.‎ It said since Justice Buba, on June 23, reaffirmed a May 27 order by Justice Okon Abang of the same court stopping Kashamu’s arrest, he might not be fair in the case.

The Agency claimed the injunction amounted to preventing federal agencies from discharging their constitutional duties.

The NDLEA also asked the judge to withdraw from the case on the basis that he might not reach a different conclusion in the fresh case having ruled in Kashamu’s favour once.

It requested that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for reassignment to another judge.

Refusing the application, Justice Buba said he would not shy away from deciding a case merely because of an unsubstantiated accusation of bias.‎ He dismissed the application, saying it lacked merit.

Meanwhile, Senator Kashamu has alleged that there was a move by the NDLEA and AGF to seize his property, including a 24-flat housing estate at Egbe and several hectares of land on Lekki Peninsula, Lagos.

According to him, he acquired the property, which he said was worth 20 billion Naira, by dint of hard work and through his legitimate business.

He said contrary to the NDLEA’s claims, the property were not proceeds of drug trafficking.

Mr Kashamu’s application would be heard by the court on Wednesday.

Nyako Accuses Judges Of Frustrating Suit Challenging His Impeachment

GA former Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, has sent a petition to the National Judicial Council, accusing the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, of frustrating a case he filed, challenging the legality of his impeachment.

In the petition submitted on Wednesday, he claimed that the Chief  Judge withdrew the case file from the Adamawa division of the court.

Justice Auta was alleged to have withdrawn the case file few days to the delivery of judgement by the trial judge, Justice Bilikisu Aliyu.

Admiral Nyako, through his counsel, Olukoya Ogunbele, said that withdrawal of a case file few days to judgement date by any judicial officer was in bad taste and should not be condoned.

In a similar development, Nyako had also dragged the Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Justice Ishaya Banu, before the National Judicial Council (NJC) for disciplinary action over alleged‎ miscarriage of justice in the suit challenging the legality of his (Nyako) impeachment.

In a petition sent to the NJC on February 10, Nyako alleged that Justice Banu frustrated his legal action by delaying proceedings in the matter assigned to himself thereby subverting the cause of justice.

He asked the NJC to investigate the matters with a view to establishing their veracity or otherwise.

Admiral Nyako also ask the NJC to apply appropriate sanctions against Justice Banu in other to protect innocent citizens from any further abuse of their judicial authority

The former Adamawa governor requested for an order that would speed up hearing of his case in the interest of justice.

The former governor was impeached in July 2014 by the lawmakers after reviewing the report of a panel of inquiry set up to investigate allegations of financial impropriety against him and his deputy.

The impeachment notice, signed by 19 of the 25 state lawmakers, listed 20 impeachable offences against them. There was also an accusation of extra-budgetary expenditure of over 390 million Naira,as overhead cost from January 2013 to December 2013, among other allegations.

Ogunba Identifies Delay In Justice As Judiciary’s Biggest Challenge

On this edition of Law Weekly, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kunle Ogunba, identified what he regards as Nigeria’s judiciary’s biggest challenge, including delay in delivering justice as well as congestion in courts.

The programme also featured some of the ceremonies which marked the commencement of this legal year and some of the key things that the heads of the courts talked about that would guarantee a better judiciary going forward.

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar lamented the decline in the allocation of funds to the judiciary, while the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta at the legal year ceremony of his court in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital talked about inadequate manpower and some of the measures he has put in place including directions to guarantee a more robust adjudication.

In the interview segment, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kunle Ogunba identified the delays and the slow pace of justice as the greatest challenge of the Nigerian judicial system.

He also shared his perspectives for tackling the issue and much more.

Chief Justice Warns Judges On Plea Bargaining

The Chief Justice of Nigeria; Justice Mariam Aloma-Muktar has warned judges to be weary of unwholesome involvement in plea bargaining.

The Chief Justice who was represented at an induction course for newly appointed judges and Kadis by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, noted that it will amount to gross misconduct for judges to be party to any behind the scene agreement between prosecutors and persons standing trial in court.

She further warned judges to desist from leaving their courts and duty posts without the permission of the head of courts as such a conduct will not be condoned by the National Judicial Council and the council will not hesitate to mete out the appropriate punishment.

According to her the National Judicial Council is repositioning itself to ensure that erring judicial officers are properly dealt with.

She however assured the judges that the institution will not be a witch-hunting institution.

On his part the administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Umaru Eri (retired) urged the newly appointed judges to ensure that their judgment writing and delivery are simply and unambiguous so as not to leave anyone in doubt as to what each judgment addresses at any given time.