(By Ibrahim W. Idowu Esq)

Nigeria’s Legal Profession is under siege. It had started with an assault against the soul of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), to clear the path for the present assault on the judiciary. Then, this unprecedented attempt to desecrate the temple of Justice and pocket the third arm of government.

But, it is a miscalculated assault. An ill-advised move and a desperate misfiring. The judiciary is not powerless!! It won’t take it lying low. Constitutional Democracy, Rule of Law and Separation of Powers must be preserved by all means reasonably possible.

Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja on 14 January 2019 ordered as follows: ”In view of the imminent danger of having the res in this suit being destroyed before the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction and the affidavit evidence before the court, I am satisfied that the applicant in this case has made out a case for the court’s intervention to prevent and preserve the res from dissipation.

His Lordship therefore made the following orders, among others: (1) An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 6th defendants from further proceeding with hearing of change No. CCT/ABJ/01/19, between The Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory injunction. (2) An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants in this suit, either by themselves, their privies, servants, agents, assigns or howsoever described from forcing the HonourableJustice OnnoghenNkanu Walter Samuel, from vacating his office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”

(See https://thenigerialawyer.com/just-in-interim-injunction-industrial-court-restrains-agf-chairman-cct-others-from-prosecuting-cjn-pending-determination-of-motion-on-notice/). Earlier today a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon Justice Maha had in two separate suits pending before it, made similar orders restraining the CCT, AGF, IGP, and NJC from proceeding against the CJN, pending the hearing and determinationof the two suits.

While the ex parte application in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was moved by Mr. R.A Lawal-Rabana (SAN), before Justice Maha on Monday, the ex parte application filed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 ‎was moved by Mr. Jeph Njikonye. (See https://punchng.com/breaking-court-stops-cjn-onnoghens-planned-arraignment/). With the above, it’s obvious that the battle to save the soul of Nigeria’s hallowed temple of justice has begun. The judiciary has neither gun nor knife nor force of arms. But what it has, it has begun to give. When you take battle to a man’s house, you won’t expect him to fold his arms and get eaten and swallowed. Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures. Constitutional democracy, rule of law and preservation of separation of powers are at the root of all these.

If the judiciary is subdued and silenced, the Bar and the Bench pocketed, full blown autocracy and unbridled totalitarianism would have a free reign. And the rights, liberty and lives of citizen would be in jeopardy, leading to ‘might is right’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ which is exemplifies a disorderly, lawless state reminiscent of rule by Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan whose whims and caprices, and nothing more or less, is law. Issues that bother on failure to fulfill MANDATORY CONDITIONS PRECEDENT go to root of the court’s jurisdiction and do not take into account the merit of the substantive suit, allegations or charge. That is the only relevant question here. Those who dwell on the merit or otherwise when the due-process hurdle has not been crossed, only waste their time.

As Mr. Godson Ugochukwu, legal practitioner and prolific writer, wrote earlier on Monday (14/01/2019), ”The umbrage against the criminal allegations and proposed arraignment of the CJN is against the shameless violation of due process…. Due process, on the totem pole of the administration of justice, ranks higher than the merits of the case.

This is because due process is the sole safeguard of the integrity of the judicial process. Due process forbids the interrogation of the purpose for which justice is dispensed.

Let the judge hate you or love you, it matters not if the justice dispensed passes the due process test.” (see https://thenigerialawyer.com/between-truth-and-due-process-nigerian-lawyers-must-rise-to-stare-down-this-gorgon-of-odoriferous-abuse-of-power-by-godson-ugochukwu/)

Ibrahim W. Idowu Esq writes

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