PIC. 37. THE NEW CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA, JUSTICE MAMOUD MOHAMMED TAKING OATH OF OFFICE IN ABUJA ON THURSDAY (20/11/14). 5837/20/11/2014/ISE/BJO/AIN/NAN

At the annual conference of the Court of Appeal held in Nigeria, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has discredited the issue of conflicting judgments arising from the Court of Appeal especially on election petition matters.

At the annual conference of the Court of Appeal held in Nigeria, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has discredited the issue of conflicting judgments arising from the Court of Appeal especially on election petition matters.

Accordingly to Justice Mahmud Muhammad, justice must be conveyed with certainty.
“As the guardians of the law, we must not only be just but also convey certainty in our justness.”
“My Lords, it bears reminding that the overriding objective of every legal system in the world is to do justice.

However, this cannot be achieved where there is confusion as to the state of the law as pronounced by the court.”
The Chief Justice, having noted the complaints by the members of the public on this issue of conflicting judgments by the Court of Appeal, stated that the situation is capable of reducing public confidence in the Judicial arm of Government.

Quoting the Chief Justice of Nigeria further,
“As your lordships will agree, where an aggrieved person perceives, whether rightly or wrongly, that they will not receive justice, such a situation can indeed bode ill for the community in which he lives and can lead to acrimony and anarchy.”

“We must not ignore the negative perception that is occasioned by conflicting judgments delivered at various divisions of the Court of Appeal. Such judicial contradictions only result in untold hardships to litigants in their quest for justice. They further cast your lordships in an unfavourable light and leave the judiciary at the mercy of inuendos, crass publications and editorials.”

Furthermore, on the issue of conflicting decisions of the Court, Justice Muhammed suggested that the Court of Appeal should have an “internal law report” for easily accessible to the Justices, which can either be in print, or made available electronically.

He also recommended to the Justices, the suggestion of a former justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Niki Tobi, that immediately a decision is given in one division, it should be sent to the other divisions without delay.

Notwithstanding, Justice Mahmud Muhammad commended the justices of the Court of Appeal for their attempts improve the status of the Nigerian Judiciary.

In his words, “I must similarly commend your lordships for being instrumental in propelling the judiciary towards an improved system of administration of justice in Nigeria.

“With one justice of appeal to 1.8 million Nigerians, I dare say that your efforts at dispensing justice, despite frightening caseload, can best be described as extraordinary.”

The Chief Justice specifically praised the President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, for the manner in which she handled election petitions tribunals notwithstanding the paucity of funds.

Meanwhile, The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier accused the justices of the Court of Appeal of not following precedents as laid down by the Apex Court i.e. the Supreme court, and for interpreting the laws of the land in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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