The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says it is deeply concerned about the current state of affairs within the Nigerian judiciary.
In a statement, NEF’s convener, Professor Ango Abdullahi, stressed the need for the judiciary to be cautious in its actions to prevent the erosion of its integrity, public trust, and confidence.
Professor Abdullahi expressed dismay at the controversies surrounding several recent judicial decisions, particularly those concerning elections. Such occurrences, he noted, are disheartening and pose a significant threat to the future of democracy in Nigeria.
He said the potential consequences of these actions may ultimately validate the concerns raised by retired Supreme Court judge, Dajjito Mohammed, in his valedictory remarks about corruption and undue compromises within the judiciary, adding that the forum recognises the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding democratic principles.
“The judiciary plays a critical role in ensuring justice, protecting citizens’ rights, and preserving the credibility of the electoral process. Any actions that compromise these principles undermine the very foundation of any democratic nation,” Professor Abdullahi said.
NEF called on all levels of the judiciary to uphold the highest ethical standards and maintain impartiality in their decision-making processes and urged judges to exhibit unwavering integrity and resilience when adjudicating cases, especially those pertaining to elections.
Abdullahi also expressed concern about the current trend that poses a threat of imminent judicial collapse, saying it had numerous Implications for constitutional democracy.
The trend, he said, poses a significant threat to the judiciary, the institution responsible for upholding constitutional democracy. He argues that if this trend continues, the nation risks descending into total anarchy.
Professor Abdullahi therefore warned that only through a robust and functioning judiciary can Nigeria truly safeguard its democratic values and prevent the descent into anarchy.
“The fairness and transparency of the judicial system are vital for fostering public trust, confidence, and belief in the democratic process,” he said.
The forum urged relevant authorities to conduct thorough investigations into any allegations of corruption and undue compromise within the judiciary, saying any substantiated claims should be swiftly prosecuted, serving as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to taint the judiciary’s reputation.