By Oludele Shalom
A group under the aegis of Civil Society Coalition for Judicial Reform has called for urgent reform of the Nigerian judiciary system, to ensure proper administration of justice.
According to a press release made available to LEADERSHIP, consigned by the group’s coordinator, Mazi Eze Ohuru, and its secretary, Ameh Ejeh, the existence of controversial and obnoxious judgments are not new in the history of the Nigerian judiciary, hence a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Dahiru Musdapher inaugurated the National Judicial Reform Committee (NJRC) with a mandate to look into trial process, procedural inefficiencies, declining intellectual quality and reasoning content of delivered judgments.
“Meanwhile, a Right to Due Process in a broad sense is interpreted as the ‘right to be treated fairly, efficiently and effectively by the administration of Justice’. The right to due process place limitations on laws and legal proceedings, in order to guarantee fundamental fairness and justice. Due process is interpreted here as the rules administered through courts of justice in accordance with established and sanctioned legal principles and procedures, with safeguards for the protection of individual rights. Undoubtedly, the quality of a court cannot be assured if the rights of the applicants are not assured or guaranteed.
“Furthermore, the actions and inactions of judges placed a high demand of judicial reforms in the Nigerian judicial system. At such, the civil society groups owe it as a duty to follow-up the judicial process and to call the attention of relevant authorities when any anomaly is noticed in order to ensure that justice is done to all irrespective of status in the society,” the statement read.
The group said as part of its objective of existence, it has been monitoring the activities of Hon Justice D.E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Umuahia Judicial Division, in a case filed on the 23rd July, 2018, designated as FHC/UM/PET/02/2018 at Federal High Court, Umuahia.
The statement further read that in the above matter, Mr Chima Nsudum, who was then the managing director of Davebenlin Nig. Ltd (A company of his late father) filed a suit in good faith seeking for the “winding up of the company” due to some unresolved disputes with his siblings over the management of the company, after the demise of their father for peace to reign in their family. The major business of the company is the importation of branded Davebenlin Abrasive call ‘ENGLESH ABRASIVES’.
Meanwhile, his brothers (Barr Iheanacho Nsudum and Mr Chisom Nsudum), who are also members of the company’s Board of Directors, opposed the above idea of Mr Chima Nsudum.
Civil Society Coalition For Judicial Reform has expressed lack of confidence in Hon Justice D.E. Osiagor to give a fair hearing and judgement devoid of bias and partiality, following his conduct and disposition since the matter began, and is, therefore, calling for reassignment of the case to another Judge for a fair trial, to ensure adequate delivery of justice in the case.
The group alleged that some moves made by Hon Justice Osiagor, one of which is the transfer of the matter to his private chamber, claiming to offer alternative dispute resolution, are suspicious, and said: “The NJC should, as a matter of urgency, direct the Hon Justice to desist, henceforth, from entertaining the matter, which is already at the Appeal Court in Owerri. This should be done at the immediate to forestall further damages, as His Lordship has fixed Tuesday, 13th October 2020 for hearing of the matter.