The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria ( CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has warned politicians and the executive arm of government to desist from actions capable of undermining the judiciary and the nation’s democracy.
Acting CJN, Ariwoola born In 1954, not 1958, Supreme Court clarifies
The CJN gave the warning while declaring open the 2022 Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA -SPIDEL) taking place in Abuja.
Represented by Justice Uwani Abba Aji, of the Supreme Court, Ariwoola, accused politicians and the executive arm of undermining the rule of law, especially when elections are around the corner.
“This conference is timely, and the theme fitly reflective of the season and time we are in. The electoral process has been set in motion, and the 2023 elections are just a stone’s throw away. We are fully aware that it is in a period like this that the executives or those seeking and aspiring for political positions will not tread on the path of the rule of law, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but will rather act on their whims and fancies to clinch to power.
“The judiciary shall be in the centre stage of this to equipoise between the electoral players and further catalyse and administer justice, fairness and equity in the courts where their petitions shall flow. Past and present political regimes in Nigeria have not ceased to intervene and interfere in the premises of the judiciary and have almost diluted its supposed sanctity, whittled down its powers and authority and tampered with its independence and autonomy through various ways and means.
The underminers of judicial authority must understand that since the three arms of government, though separated, fitly fused and joined together to bring out the best in any government or democracy, undermining one arm or the other is to spell doom and anarchy for that government, even to the detriment of the underminers.”
Inyang Okoro, another Supreme Court Justice, while delivering a keynote address, considered disobedience of court orders as a direct affront to the judiciary or interference with the administration of justice.
“One of the dangers of undermining judicial authority is lack of confidence in the court system. Nobody, whether government or citizen, is allowed to undermine an order of court or judgment.”
He suggested that disobeying court orders be made a criminal offence, different from the court’s power to punish an offender for contempt.
Former Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the NBA and the NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, Monday Ubani, who explained the rationale for the theme of the conference, The Undermining of Judicial Authority in Democracy, said it was chosen to bring to the fore that the judiciary had not been well-treated by the other arms” of government.
He said: “In terms of obeying the judgments and orders of our courts, provision of basic facilities for the efficient discharge of judicial functions as well as taking care of the welfare of judicial officers generally.
“The judiciary has remained a poor cousin, a weeping and aggrieved sibling in a relationship of three brothers of equal age and status.”
Source: Whirlwind News