The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States has appealed to Nigeria and the 14 other member states of the regional body not to disregard its decisions often made to salvage the fate of poor citizens.
The President of the court, Justice Jerome Traore, who made this appeal during the official opening of the 2017/2018 legal year of the court in Abuja on Monday, said a court judgement had no value if not implemented.
The ceremony, with the theme, ‘Current trends in international and regional commercial arbitration’ was attended by the representatives of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello; Minister for State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Buka; Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Mousapha Cisse Lo.
Director of Legislation, Ministry of Justice of Cameroon, Kenfack Douaji, was the guest speaker.
Our correspondent gathered that failure of member states to enforce or obey the decisions of the court is among the major challenge facing the court since its establishment in 2001.
Recently, the court ordered the release of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), being detained by the Department of State Service but the order was not obeyed.
Justice Traore said on Monday that “judicial efficiency” was not limited to justice delivered in reasonable time, but also had to do with enforcement of court decisions.
He noted that there could not be judicial efficiency without the enforcement of the court orders.
“Now to talk of judicial efficiency is to talk first of all of justice delivered in reasonable time.
“Our English-speaking friends rightly say ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, don’t they?
“Thus, ‘diligence’ which does not sacrifice serenity on the altar of speed, is without doubt, a guarantee of quality and judicial process.
“Again, to talk of judicial efficiency, is to talk of enforcement of court decisions in the best possible time and in good faith.”
He also noted that failure of member states to obey or enforce the judgement of the court was as retrogressive as reducing the number of judges of the court when the number of cases filed before the court was on the rise.