A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, G.I Abibo, SAN has stated it that it is unconstitutional Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and every other Prosecutorial Agency to sponsor meetings, seminars, conferences for judges.
In the letter dated 4th Dec 2018, addressed to the Secretary of Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (BOSAN) the learned Silk who is the principal of Garnville Abibo, & Co, noted that it contravenes the oath of office sworn to by the judges
He is, therefore, calling on the Body to take necessary actions for the interest of the Bar
Below reads the full latter
Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS), Secretariat,
Nigerian Law School,
Ozumba Mbadiwe Road,
SPONSORSHIP OF MEETINGS SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES OF JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURTS AND JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEAL BY THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) AND OTHER PROSECUTORIAL AGENCIES AGAINST THE OATH OF OFFICE OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND CONTRARY TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, 1999 (AS AMENDED).
The above subject matter refers.
With utmost respect to the judiciary, I write to sincerely complain about the unfortunate developments in respect of interactions between Judges and Justices of the High Court and Court of Appeal respectively, on one hand and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (hereinafter referred to as the EFCC) and other Prosecutorial Agencies on the other hand.
It is fast becoming a norm for the EFCC as well as other prosecutorial agencies of the Federal Government to set up meetings and conferences and sponsor judges/justices who are adjudicating over their cases in Court, for these seminars and conferences where the EFCC and these other agencies as well as the said judges/justices attend, interact and discuss without the presence and participation of lawyers who have matters concerning/affecting the EFCC or these other agencies.
Just recently in October, 2018, the Judges attended the seminar held at Abuja for which they were each sponsored; which sponsorship included estacode allowances and accommodation by the EFCC. This is just one of several of these seminars/meetings and conferences.
This, we believe seriously contravenes the Oath of office sworn to by these Judges/Justices as enshrined in the 6th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as contained in the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.
It is also very clear that the said Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which provides for the protection of the rights of citizens, frown at such things that unnecessarily put in question, the credibility of the Courts/Judges to justly adjudicate and dispense with matters before them fairly or evenly between parties.
Furthermore, it goes even without saying, with all due respect to the Judges/Justices, that these events raise a serious ground for suspicion and loss of confidence by adverse parties, in the judiciary as the ability of the Judges to remain unbiased in the face of such sponsorship, financial packages and other perks, becomes highly questionable. Such a thing makes the common man and the public to lose faith in the only place that they see and take as their last civil hope in attaining justice. I dare say that the independence of our judicial officers is fast eroding and is on the verge of extinction with this corrosive practice. It is an unfortunate trend that must be stopped.
It is curious to understand why lawyers are not similarly accorded the opportunity to attend seminars, meetings, conferences and of course, lawyers are effectively excluded by these Federal Government Agencies.
I, therefore, implore you to critically and urgently look into this issue and take necessary action through the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to stop same and protect the sanctity of the judiciary before it becomes too late. We owe this as a duty to our judiciary. Evil men shall continue to triumph when good men turn away the other eye or stay away.
Thank you. Yours faithfully,
G.I. Abi o, SAN, Ksc.
Granville Abibo (SAN) & Co.
(Legal Practitioners & Arbitrators)
Copy of the Letter in PDF FORMAT BELOWsponsorship letter 001
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