Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Kafarati has directed that all political cases still pending before the court should be concluded by October.
Kafarati gave the directive in Abuja on July 4, while receiving the 2019 “International Award for Public Interest, Excellent and Meritorious Services” from the International Human Rights and Anti Corruption Society (IHRAS).
He said the measure the court adopted before and during the last general elections, which included the directive to judges not to grant ex-part orders in political cases, was intended to allow every political prayer equal opportunity.
He said: “In an attempt to forestall any hiccups and where the court is blamed by political gladiators, I issued, during the last vacation, a circular that interim orders ex-parte shall not be granted in any political cases brought before the court.
“I believe that controversies, especially in political cases, can be reduced when the court takes a decision after hearing all the parties in the case.
“It is also extremely important that all political cases that may affect any of the parties, which are still in our courts, be concluded without further waste of time to afford all candidates the opportunity to pursue their political ambitions.
“Judges before whom such cases are still pending must endeavour to conclude them before the end of October 2019.”
Justice Kafarati, who noted that the award was an indication that the public appreciate the court’s efforts, hailed judges and other personnel of the court for their dedication and hard work.
He noted that democracy only thrives where citizens’ rights are guaranteed and corruption curbed, and stressed that the court and the law remain necessary instruments for regulating any democratic society.
“I urge your lordships to be wary in handling all cases, especially cases concerning human rights and political cases.
“We should again, use this court and the Constitution to regulate our society for the good of our children and mankind. I still believe that the Judiciary remains the hope of all people, whether common or uncommon.
Kafarati praised members of IHRAS for selecting him for the group’s award and said: “I accept this award on behalf of the Nigerian Judiciary and most especially the people in my life, who have made my standing here possible.”
While presenting the award, IHRAS’ Director-General, Dr. Udoisong Udofia said it chose Kafarati for the award in view of his commitment to human rights protection, anti-corruption advocacy and promotion of judicial independence through various activities of the court.
Udofia,who noted that his group has enjoyed the support of the court in its human rights and anti-corruption advocacy, said his members will not relent in speaking out where rights violation and corrupt practices are noticed.
Present at the event, held in the court’s conference hall, were Justice Stephen Adah (of the Court of Appeal, who represented the court’s President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa) and the honouree’s fellow judges of the Federal High Court.
There were also lawyers, including the President of the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN), Yusuf Abdulkadir (who represented the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Federal Ministry of Justice, staff of the court and members of IHRAS.