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Stop playing to the gallery, Yar’Adua tells judges

Posted by By GODWIN TSA, Abuja on 2007/11/07 | Views: 548 |

Stop playing to the gallery, Yar’Adua tells judges


As judges converge in Abuja to deliberate on issues confronting the judiciary, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has cautioned them against falling into temptations of playing to the gallery in the adjudication on matters before them.

As judges converge in Abuja to deliberate on issues confronting the judiciary, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has cautioned them against falling into temptations of playing to the gallery in the adjudication on matters before them.

President Yar’Adua, who admonished the members of the Bench to be strictly guided by application of the law in the discharge of their constitutional duties, called on them not to be swayed by public sentiments in arriving at their judgments.

This came as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, has condemned what he described as outlandish bail conditions been dished out to accused persons by judges, saying the practice is strange and scandalous.
The president had, while declaring the All Nigeria Judges’ Conference open, commended the nation’s judiciary for its demonstration of courage and exemplary qualities in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.

His words: "It is important that the judiciary should not fall into temptations of public sentiments while deciding on cases before them, but should stick to the application of the law. Decisions of courts must be according to the law and not according to public sentiments."

The president emphasised the commitment of his administration to strict adherence to the principles of the rule of law and due process as the cardinal point of his regime.
The rule of law, according to him, "entails that justice must be administered according to law and not according to the whims and caprices of government or an individual, noting that it is important to accrue the rights of citizens within the law."

Earlier, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Kutigi, had condemned the issuance of stringent conditions while admitting accused persons to bail.
Justice Kutigi, who spoke through his representative, Justice Sylvester Umaru Onu, also of the Supreme Court, described the practice as strange and scandalous.

"Another disturbing practice which I have observed in recent times is the idea of judges granting bail to accused persons and setting down what I may call outlandish bail conditions. Some lawyers and members of the public have had cause to deplore such practice and even petitioned against it.
"Their complaint is that the practice whereby bail is now granted by a court of law in the sum of say N100 million with sureties who must be senators, traditional rulers, etc, who must own property in choicest areas at Abuja or Lagos, is rather strange and scandalous," he said.

In addition, the CJN called on Nigerian judges to refrain from indiscreet granting of orders of interim injunction which, he said, has become a perennial problem in the judiciary.
Making a case for the financial independence of the judiciary, the CJN reported the 36 state governors to the president, accusing them of withholding funds meant for the state judiciary.

"Your Excellency, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, has made provision in section 121 subsection (3) for the funding of the respective judiciaries. Now, while the efforts of the Federal Government and the National Assembly in conjunction with the National Judicial Council to approve and release the funds for recurrent and capital expenditure in respect of the Federal Judiciary is commendable, the same cannot be said about the states.

"Many state chief executives have continuously failed, neglected or refused to hand over funds meant for the state judiciaries to the Heads of Courts. I would, therefore, implore the state governments concerned through Mr. president to reconsider their position on this, in the interest of justice, the rule of law, fear of God, good governance and the need to abide by the constitution which they swore to uphold."

Justice Kutigi disclosed that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has viewed the refusal by some state governors to appoint the next most senior judge in the hierarchy of the state Chief Judge, not only as an affront to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, "but also as inimical to administration of justice and the rule of law, which this administration, since inception, has guarded."

According to him, "the National Judicial Council wishes to reiterate that while it is necessary for each of the three arms of government to jealously guard the powers allotted it by the constitution, however, where such powers are to be partly performed by each branch of government, it should be borne in mind that it is for the purpose of checks and balances, and not for anyone of them to disobey the constitutional powers exercised by the others."

He commended President Yar’Adua for anchoring his administration on the rule of law and due process which he described as the bedrock of constitutionalism and democracy.




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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown