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CJN Summons Six Chief Judges Over Conflicting Rulings

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Ibrahim Muhammad

Ganiyat Ganiyu

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has summoned six Chief Judges over the conflicting orders emanating from their courts.

The affected 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, ahead of their appearance before the NJC to explain what informed the issuance of conflicting orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction under their watch.

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.

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“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.”

Meanwhile, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata, has said he will “urgently seek audience with My Lord, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria to address this issue holistically.”

In a statement on Monday, Akpata said the NBA “has observed with dismay the unfortunate and recurring trend of contradictory court decisions and orders, especially among courts of coordinate jurisdiction, typically arising from ex parte applications and almost always in political matters.”

According to him, the developments are antithetical to the actualisation of a just society and independent judiciary.

“They run contrary to everything we teach and hold dear as a profession. Indeed, they do nothing but bring the Judiciary and the entire system of administration of justice to ridicule.”

He, however, noted, “Before blaming the judges, we must first look inwards and call out our members, most of whom are senior members of the Bar, who continue to yield themselves to be used as willing tools by politicians to wantonly abuse the judicial process.”

He added: “The NBA, as the prime defender of the integrity and independence of the Judiciary, cannot and will not be a spectator whilst our hard-earned democracy is threatened by the venal acts of a few.”

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