The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has said the National Judicial Council (NJC) had recieved petitions against some judges who delivered conflicting judgement in some cases before them.
The CJN said investigation into the petition is on-going and will be made public soon.
Justice Mohammed said appropriate actions would be taken against any of the judges found guilty at the end of the investigation.
The CJN who spoke at the special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year and swearing of newly conferred Senior Advocate of Nigeria also blamed the delay in the delivery on justice on lawyers.
Justice Mohammed, “While we all rush to rehash the age-old rhetoric that Justice delayed is justice denied, the actions of our key stakeholders, particularly members of the bar have often proven to be far from words.
“Sadly, certain members of the Bar are conspicuous in utilizing unethical, frivolous applications and appeals, multiplicity of actions in courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and other act of calumny to frustrate the speedy dispensation of justice. The Supreme Court takes a dim view of such delays and we will constantly introduce measures to reduce delay in the administration of justice as the past year’s statistics will doubtless testify”, he stated.
He expressed dismay over the growing trend of the disregard for laid down precedent in decisions from various levels of courts, especially at the appellate court.
He stated that every court in Nigerian is bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court and shall not graft a different outcome from those expressly laid down by the Supreme Court.
“Several conflicting decisions were recklessly dished out by the Court of Appeal last year in appeals arising from various decisions of the Elction Petitions Tribunals, given on election petitions filed by parties who lost in the general elections conducted in April 2015. Such decisions were made as a result of flagrant refusal of the Panels of the Court of Appeal involved, to be bound not only by its own decisions but also by the decision of this court”, he added.
The CJN also warned lawyers to cease writing petition against judicial officers directly to President Mohammadu Buhari.
He however gave judges in the country the marching order to deal with any lawyer that maligns them.
He advised lawyers to address their petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC), who, he promised will act on it without delay.
He charged the new SANs to imbibe the highest tenets of integrity and humility that befitting their status.
Speaking on behalf of the body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Thompson Okpoko, SAN, noted that the judiciary in the nation had in recent time witnessed the show of shame brought about by court of co-ordinate jurisdiction assuming jurisdiction to hear the same dispute, between the same parties and delivering verdicts that are totally in conflict with one another.
He however called on the CJN and NJC to step in immediately to do the damage control so as to save the justice system from further ridicule.
The NBA President, A.B Mahmud SAN in his own address reiterated the need for the bar to guard the reputation of the judiciary jealously.
“On our part, we shall continue to be strong advocates of the greater independence of the judiciary. But that means we will fight even those within who seek to undermine it’s reputation.
Speaking on the state of the nation, Mahmud admitted that the country is facing daunting challenges.
According to him, “getting out of our present situation demands concerted efforts of all citizens and all institutions. The expectation of the legal profession is enormous. We must demonstrate patriotism and leadership as well as knowledge and skills. We must work to enhance confidence in the legal system, promote the rule of law, guarantee protection of citizens as wel promote the sanctity of contractual obligations thereby improving the business environment”.