The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has summoned six state Chief Judges in relation to the spate of conflicting orders emanating from their courts.
Those summoned are Chief Judges of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Anambra, Jigawa and Imo states.
The CJN issued the summons on Monday in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
By the summons, the affected Chief Judges are to first appear before CJN, preparatory to their appearance before the NJC to explain what informed the issuance of conflicting orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
The CJN, in was learnt,frowned at the embarrassment caused the Judiciary by the actions of the judges behind the conflicting ex-parte orders in relation to cases on disputes in some political parties.
The media aide to the CJN, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah confirmed that Justice Muhammad did issue the summons in his capacity as the Chairman of the NJC.
It was gathered that the meeting between the CJN and the affected Heads of Courts would hold this week before their appearance before the NJC sometime next week.
The decision by CJN to issue the summons, it was learnt, was intended to halt what has become an embarrassment to the Judiciary in the past few weeks.
Part of summons reads: “My attention has been drawn to media reports to the effect that some Courts of coordinate jurisdiction were granting conflicting ex-parte orders on the same subject matter.
“It has become expedient for me to invite you for a detailed briefing on the development.
“This is even more compelling having regard to earlier NJC Warning to judicial officers on the need to be circumspect in granting ex-parte applications.”
CJN to Judges: avoid unmerited gifts, tempting offers
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has cautioned judges to avoid unmerited gifts and tempting favours that could make them betray their oath of office.
Justice Muhammad urged them to always be committed to the oath they subscribed to and be guided by their conscience, the Constitution and the law in determining cases.
The CJN spoke on Monday while swearing-in 18 newly appointed Justices of the Court of Appeal, among whom Justice Adebukola Banjoko (from Ogun State), whose conviction of two ex-governors Joshua Dariye and Reverend Jolly Nyame of Plateau and Taraba states) was upheld up to the Supreme Court.
Justice Muhammad said: “Many high profile cases would definitely come to you on appeal; and they may likely come in company of some juicy, irresistible temptations, but I am making it clear to you now that you must flee from such disguised danger.
“Your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame in life.
“Let me point out unambiguously that in life, gifts and wealth that are not worked for, which are by extension, undeserving, are always wrapped in calamity and destruction.
“Flee from them and keep your heads high above the murky waters of corruption so that you can be conveniently counted among the very best in the Nigerian judiciary.
“You must, against all odds, conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you.
“If you were hitherto 50 percent under public scrutiny, I can assure you now that it has risen to 100 percent, by virtue of this elevation to the Court of Appeal.
“The tempo and rate of public assessment of your conduct and disposition will now assume astronomical rise.
“You must redouble your effort and dialogue properly with your conscience in order not to fall out of the grace of the almighty God and the Nigerian people. It takes nothing to join the crowd, but it takes a lot to stand alone with good conscience.”
Justice Muhammad noted that this was the first time such number of Justices would be inaugurated at the same time in view of the increasing number of cases in court.
“The last time we swore-in a large number of 12 Justices was on Monday 5th November, 2012. Today’s ceremony is an indication of the times that we are currently in.
“Several novel crimes are being committed in the country that have now made litigations to go on a steady rise. No court in the land is spared of this.
“We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever rising in response to the challenges of the time. This underscores the undisputed fact that Nigeria ranks among the most litigious countries in the world.
“The onus is on you to fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on. You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants.
“As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity. You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court of Appeal,” the CJN said.