S’Court warns against ‘unwarranted’ attacks on judiciary.

The Supreme Court on Saturday slammed Nigerians venting venomous comments on the judiciary following its recent judgements which affirmed former Governor of the Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as APC senatorial candidates in February 25 elections.

The recent affirmation of Akpabio and Lawan by the apex court had generated varied concerns from Nigerians, with some branding the judiciary as irresponsible and corrupt.

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A Nigeria-born Professor based in America, Farooq Kperogi, had particularly written a combative article to condemn the judiciary over the pronouncements.

However, in a statement titled “Be mindful of unwarranted attacks on judicial officers” and issued by the Director of Press And Information in Supreme Court, Festus Akande, the Apex Court warned Nigerians against attacks on the judiciary especially the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

Akande noted that over 600 cases had so far gone to court from just party primaries which were conducted by political parties without any interference from any external bodies.

He said the indecently unhealthy conduct of the political parties in the country resulted in the judiciary having to deal with more cases than necessary.

The statement read: “We have watched with utter dismay some unfortunate events that have been unfolding in the country, particularly within the political landscape, for some days now.

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“It is so disheartening to learn that some individuals and groups of persons who ought to know better and even assume the revered positions of role models to a larger proportion of the citizens are now sadly, the very ones flagrantly displaying ignorance and infantilism in the course of defending the indefensible.

“In an ineptly scripted toxic article, one Farooq Adamu Kperogi, who described himself as a Nigerian-American Professor, decided to plunge into an abysmal pit of irredeemable ignorance by venting convoluted anger on Supreme Court Justices with a view to pleasing his paymasters.

“We have made it abundantly clear on different occasions that Judicial Officers are neither political office holders nor politicians that should be dressed in such robes. Our silence must not be mistaken for weakness or cowardice.

“Certainly, every Nigerian citizen has an inalienable right to express his or her opinion without any encumbrance; but even in the course of expressing such fundamental right, we should be circumspect enough to observe the caution gate of self-control in order not to infringe on another person’s right.

“Even in a state of emotional disequilibrium, we should be reasonable enough to make a good choice of decent words, as every word employed by the pen-happy Kperogi only succeeded in portraying the kind of vacuum that sign-posts all that he has as academic accomplishment.

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“Courts don’t advertise or scout for cases for adjudication; but at the same time, we are duty-bound to adjudicate on all matters that come before us with a view to giving justice to whoever justice is due, irrespective of status. No court in any clime is a Father Christmas; so, no one can get what he or she didn’t ask for.

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“Similarly, all matters are thoroughly analysed and considered based on their merits and not the faces that appear in Court or sentiments that attempt to becloud the sense of reasoning. “So, for anyone in his or her right frame of mind to insinuate that the Justices have been bought over by some unknown and unseen persons is, to say the least, a bizarre expression of ignorance, which definitely has no place in law or even in the realm of pedestrian reasoning.

“We are not surprised with the surge of these well-orchestrated verbal assaults on Judicial Officers across the country at this period of elections. It is a thing we are used to and are ever ready to absorb whatever comes our way, but there should be some level of decorum and dignity in what we say and do. Politics should not be played without recourse to good conscience and acceptable moral conduct, as everything is evolving globally.

“Calling on the Chief Justice of Nigeria to resign or attacking Justices that sit on various panels, as exhibited by a faceless group that calls itself ‘Progressive Minds Forum,’ is rather prosaic. If political parties fail to organise themselves well by managing their internal wrangling maturely and now chose to bring themselves to the court, we are duty-bound to adjudicate in accordance with the provisions of the law and not the dictates of any individual or deity, as some people would want us to do.

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“If political parties conduct themselves well and orderly too, the courts would definitely handle fewer cases and the political atmosphere will be much healthier than it is currently.

“We shall continuously do our best to discharge our constitutional responsibility to keep the country together and move the nation along the path of peace, progress and development. Attacks by groups, political parties or individuals under any guise will not deter us, rather it will boost our resolve to do more for the country.

“It is not only petty but equally very unreasonable for anyone to hurriedly link CJN Ariwoola to his state of origin and tribe simply because of a particular judgment of the court.

“The major problem of Nigeria has always been the undue emphasis on religion and ethnicity in all our dealings. As long as we continue along that path, progress will remain a mirage. As of this moment, over 600 cases have so far gone to court from just party primaries which were conducted by political parties without any encumbrance or interference from any external bodies.

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“So, will the political parties, Kperogi or any individual now accuse the court of causing such unpleasant intra-party wrangling that defied all internal conflict resolution mechanisms? Most times, some people try as much as possible to disingenuously stand logic on its head to show their level of unimaginable dexterity.

“Those who have cultivated the unfashionable penchant of always attacking the Judiciary over every judgment or ruling given should better have a rethink and start channelling such robust energy into some ventures that are more developmental than destructive.

“We are not politicians and should not, by any stroke of imagination, be cast in that mould either. Nobody’s interest can ever supersede the interest of everybody. Nigeria is bigger than every one of us. A word is enough for the wise.”


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