Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Mahmud Mohammed is worried about the increasing attacks on the judiciary by politicians and some lawyers.
He said it amounted to disparaging the integrity and reputation of the judiciary.
The CJN, in a statement by his media aide, Ahuraka Issah, said “some politically-exposed persons, governors and even lawyers to some litigants averred that verdicts by election tribunals were influenced by money and political pressure”.
Justice Mohammed said it was not enough for those making such allegations to say the judiciary was corrupt and look the other way while thugs beat up judges. He said the fight against corruption is a collective one, especially among public officials, particularly governors who are the chief security officers of their states.
The CJN urged governors and public office holders to be sincere in the fight against corruption, noting that action speaks louder than words.
He said where proven allegations of fraud were made against judges and court workers, it would be more productive to report such to the National Judicial Council (NJC), which is the body constitutionally-mandated to look into such matters.
He said the judiciary remained an impartial institution, the last hope of the common man and the blind dispenser of justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have complained about the delay in the release of judgment by election tribunals.
They urged the CJN to intervene to ensure that Certified True Copies (CTCs) of judgments would be given to parties to allow them appeal on time.
In a letter by counsel to the PDP and INEC at the Rivers State legislative election petition tribunal, Godwin Obla (SAN), the parties urged the CJN to prevail on affected tribunals to release their judgments.
Obla said he applied for the CTCs of the judgment in the cases between Wali Belief Azeru vs. Michael Okechukwu Chinda and Dr. Otogwung Dressman vs. INEC and others, but was denied the judgments.
He said: “While we appreciate the peculiar demand of time that may have necessitated such near crippling judicial adventure, it is however worrisome that the judgments, as pronounced in the open tribunal on October 26, 2015, in respect of the two reference petitions above merely pronounced on the award of reliefs without any allusion as to the requisite decision and judicial reasons thereof.”
“While one may reasonably attribute the tribunal recourse to such brevity to the exigency of time, it however fall grossly short of legal requirements mandating the court or tribunal to clearly state the legal principle and decision arrived therefrom upon which the judgments is based, just as it is applicable to the hierarchy of courts where such mode of judgments is countenanced by law, i.e., at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
“Our worry over the above became more heightened when upon our written application to the tribunal for the CTC of the judgments or in the alternative, CTC of the handwritten judgments to be made available to us as to enable us decide on the required step as promptly as possible, in view of the limited timeframe for any subsequent step to challenge the judgments, same was bluntly turned by the registry.”