* warns judges against frivolous political injunctions
The acting Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, has warned judges against granting frivolous injunctions to politicians, as their administration of justice must be seen not to be partisan, also said that the independence of the judiciary should be guarded jealously even as the general polls approach.
He gave the warning on Monday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop organised by INEC with support from European Centre for Electoral (ECES), and the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
Mohammed said judges that will be sitting on the election petitions must be upright by taking the training seriously.
Represented by the Court of Appeal President, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, the acting CJN said judges must guard their integrity.
“You must guard your integrity and the integrity of the Judiciary by avoiding acts that will bring you under the disciplinary jurisdiction of the National Judicial Council as it will not hesitate to wield the bug suck of sanctions to any Judicial Officer who is found wanting in the discharge of his duties,” Mohammed said.
He pledged that they will continue to do their best to ensure that Judicial officers remain conversant with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and other relevant laws towards ensuring efficiency and uniformity in the quality of judgement.
He said, “You must refrain from granting frivolous injunctions. Remain impartial and most importantly, shun any form of inducement. It is mandatory for you to analyze facts based on the applicable laws without prejudice.”
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the occasion, decried what it described as conflicting judgements that put the commission in difficult positions.
Yakubu who said conflicting judgements create uncertainty in the polity. He expressed confidence that the training will avail the judges the basics of the electoral process.
Yakubu who was represented by a National Commissioner, Mrs. May Mbu, decried lack of consequential orders arising from judgements concerning election matters.
“For our part, there are two major areas of concern. First is the issue of conflicting judgments arising from pre-election and post-election cases. As a firm believer in the rule of law, the commission always obeys court orders or, where it is considered necessary, appeals them in the interest of justice.
“There have been over 1,200 cases involving the commission since the 2015 general elections and not in a single case has the commission disobeyed a court order.
“However, conflicting judgements, especially by courts of coordinate jurisdiction at the High Court level are putting the commission in a very difficult position and creating uncertainty in the process.
“Conflicting court orders are negatively affecting the consistency, neutrality, and public perception not only of the commission, but the judiciary as well. There is therefore the urgent need to address the issue of conflicting judgements in order to engender certainty in the electoral process,” he said.