Ag Appeal Court president calls for regular training of judges

The Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has called on the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to work out modalities for early and pragmatic training of Justices and Judges on the use of the Manual for Election Petition Tribunal (EPT).

Justice Dongban-Mensem said such training will help in broadening the scope of understanding of the application.

“I would like IFES to consider having more regular workshops for Justices and not just when elections are around the corner.

“This will also allow for proper feedback on how well people appreciate this effort and how your organisation intends to implement the issues raised to ensure that the process is better executed for positive result,” she said.

Justice Dongban-Mensem made this plea, when the Country Director of IFES, Mr Hermann Thiel, led the Deputy Country Director, Seray Jah and the Project Manager, Mr Simon Fanto to brief her on plans to convene a debriefing conference of Justices and Judges who participated in the 2019 Election Petition Tribunal Processes as well as review the Manual for Election Petition Tribunal (EPT).

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Thiel disclosed that their visit was to familiarise himself with the new Acting President of the Court of Appeal and intimate her on the organisation’s activities and to chart a new beginning on the way forward on how to overcome the challenges COVID-19 posses in bringing back the 250 Judges drawn from the 36 states of the Federation, who participated in EPT for a debriefing conference especially, with the Federal Government’s guidelines on social distancing, which bans movement and official gatherings in the country.

IFES Project Manager, Simon Fanto and the Deputy Country Director, Seray Jah had, in their remarks, told the Acting President that ahead of the general elections in Nigeria, the organisation usually partners with the Court of Appeal to train Justices and Judges selected to sit on the Election Petition Tribunals.

According to them, IFES also sponsored the production of EPT practice direction Manual developed by the Justices of the Court of Appeal which is usually distributed to them during the conference.

“As a tradition, at the end of the tribunal sittings, the post-election conference takes place where all the Judges come together to share experiences on what had happened while in the field, with a view to understanding the best processes that assisted them and those that posed challenges,” Fanto said.

The Project Manager informed the Acting President that the fall-out from such interface formed the bases for future reforms and added that: “Now that there are a lot of reforms that are ongoing, especially at the National Assembly as well as the legal components, we are primarily here to discuss and seek your Lordship’s guidance on how to reconvene the Post-Election Petition Tribunal Conference, review the recommendations from the discussions; this will trickle down to the production of the 2023 fourth edition of the Manual.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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