NJC to probe judges involved in conflicting judgments

  • As CJN warns lawyers against routing petition to Presidency

JUDGES involved in the recent conflicting judgments said to have exposed the country’s judiciary into ridicule and embarrassment are in for big trouble as the National Judicial Council (NJC) has commenced investigation of the judges.

Speaking at the opening of the 2016/2017 legal year and the conferment of the rank of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) on 22 lawyers, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) gave a stern warning to legal practitioners in the country to stop routing their petitions against judicial officers directly to President Muhammadu Buhhari.

He also told lawyers to stop actions that are capable of maligning judicial offices.

The CJN, who the chairman of the NJC assured that appropriate actions would be taken against judges found wanting in the conflicting judgment involved by the NJC after a thorough investigation, adding that most of the conflicting judgments emanated from court actions instituted by the two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a bid to resolve their political differences on the leadership of the party.

Expressing his displeasure in the way and manners complaints against judges are sent directly to the President, instead of the NJC, Justice Mohammed said the cases have been marked for action against erring lawyers by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.

He added that the motivation for the trend lies in the narrow, deplorable self interest and incompetence of the lawyers involved in the act of writing petition against judges.

He advised lawyers and litigants who has complaints against any member of the Bench (Judges) to address their petition to the NJC, who, he promised will act on it without delay.

According to the CJN, “This dangerous new trend has borne itself out with various complaints ranging from disparaging remarks against judges of our Superior courts, to unprecedented, unwarranted and. Unfortunate personal attack on Judicial officers.”

The CJN warned lawyers against contempt of court and described as sad a situation where lawyers make direct insult on ‎judges and urged the leadership of the Bar to be more proactive in disciplining such errant counsel in defence of the integrity of the judiciary and law profession.

The CJN had earlier warned that the appointment of Chief Justice of Nigeria should not be politicised and urged the judiciary to strenuously resist lobbyists from interfering with the appointments of a new Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Justice Mohammed further cautioned that allowing lobbyists interfere with the appointment will “undoubtedly and irreversibly hurt our justice system.”

Justice Mohammed who is due for retirement from the position of the CJN in November added that the constitution is clear as to the procedure that must be followed in appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court or a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria and such must be adhered to in appointing the next Chief Justice after his tenure.

In his speech, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, applauded the CJN for the innovations introduced in the judiciary, even as he made case for the NBA President to be a permanent member of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee.

The NBA boss said the association will soon convene a high level Bar leaders’ summit in October to discuss important matters affecting the legal profession, such as legal education.

The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Mr Olanrewaju Onadeko and 21 other senior lawyers were conferred the prestigious rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee.