The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Tanko Muhammad says the judiciary can not be blamed for delays in high profile cases.
The CJN’s position is contained in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media on Monday in Abuja.
He said the position of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the Judiciary be held responsible for delays in the trial and delivery of judgments in corruption cases involving politically exposed individuals appears to be one-sided.
“The Nigerian Judiciary is not here to lay claims to being perfect but when the political and economic conditions under which it is operating is compared with its counterparts in other climes, it would be adjudged a prize model.
“The Judiciary by its constitutional position does not have a criminal investigations unit or Fraud Detective Squad to detect and investigate criminal involvement of any person, neither does it have a garrison command to fight its cause or enforce its orders and decisions.
“More often than not, the Federal Government’s prosecution sector files more charges than it can prove or provide witnesses, at times as a result the prosecution even fails”.
He said that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) under reference is infected with sores in some parts, making speeding adjudications impossible in some instances.
“In some instances the high volume of cases, limited number of judges, poor infrastructure or archaic equipment also contribute to the challenges”.
He noted that the federal government had while giving reasons for its under-funding of the Judiciary, on January 26, at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Justice Sector Summit 2022 in Abuja said that the Judiciary has not been transparent in the spending its yearly allocations.
“The Judiciary has refrained from joining issues all this while but to state the facts in line with the budget call circular and ceiling the Federal Government sent to the Judiciary before the beginning of the fiscal year.
”The,Judiciary prepares its budget estimates for capital, overhead and personnel costs according to the ceiling, needs and priority.
“The Judiciary defends its budget before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Judiciary at the National Assembly, besides the initial vetting by the Executive.
“It also has an internal mechanism for budget control and implementation. Each Court and judicial body has a budget unit, the accounts department, internal audit, Due Process Unit, as well as Departmental Tenders Board.
“There is also a Due Process Committee at the NJC and the Judicial Tenders Board that award contracts on expenditure above the approval limit of the accounting officers of the Courts and judicial bodies”, he added.
He said the layers of control were established by the Judiciary to ensure transparency, accountability and effective budget implementation.
“Similarly, by virtue of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly carries out oversight visits to the Judiciary to monitor the implementation of its budget.
“Section 88(2)(b) also mandates the National Assembly to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.
“The Executive also put in place some mechanism to monitor budget implementation and accountability in the Judiciary through its organs like the office of Accountant General of the Federation and Auditor General of the Federation, and other agencies where the need arises”.
According to him, apart from the internal audit units of the Judiciary, the Federal Audit Department maintains offices in all the courts and judicial bodies that monitor spending in the Judiciary.
“If the Federal Audit raises a query on any transaction and it is not well defended, it sends the report to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly and officials of the Judiciary would be invited to explain themselves.
“The question to ask is, who else should the Judiciary open its account books to, and who among these organs had raised exceptions which were not defended by the Third Arm?
The answer is none.
“One only hopes that these allegations against the Judiciary by the Federal Government is not just a way of giving a dog a bad name so as to hang it”, he concluded.
Supreme Court Joins Rivers In Buhari’s Suit Against Section 84 (12) Of Electoral Act
The Supreme Court has granted Rivers State’s request to join in President Muhammadu Buhari’s suit against Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.
Hearing in the suit has been fixed for May 26.
The Supreme Court fixed the date after joining Rivers State as an interested party.
Justice Muhammad Dattijo adjourned the matter following the concession by Buhari’s lawyer Lateef Fagbemi that the speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly and Attorney General, Rivers State, be joined as parties.
Section 84 (12)
President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
In the suit filed on April 29, the President and AGF, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
They are seeking an order of the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, saying it is inconsistent with the nation’s Constitution.
According to the court document, the plaintiffs contend that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well as Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.
President Buhari and Malami also contended that the Constitution already provides qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners, and Special Advisers.
They urged the court to make: “A declaration that the joint and combined reading of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended); the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.”
In the same vein, the National Assembly has asked the Supreme Court to strike out the suit instituted by President Buhari.
The National Assembly, in its counter-affidavit, filed by its lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, said the Supreme Court cannot be invoked to amend the provision of any law validity made by lawmakers in the exercise of their legislative powers as granted by the Constitution.
They argued that the 1999 Constitution, as amended gave the National Assembly the power to make laws for good governance in Nigeria.
Alleged Assault: CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar Fails In Bid To Stop Senate Probe
A Federal High Court in Abuja says the Nigerian Senate has the power to investigate Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar over the case of an alleged assault on a security guard at a shopping mall in Abuja.
Delivering Judgement on Tuesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said the CCT boss failed to display high moral public standards by his conduct and with the Code of Conduct Bureau being a product of an Act ratified by the National Assembly, it, therefore, has powers to investigate his conduct.
The court subsequently dismissed the suit by Mr Umar seeking to stop his investigation by the Senate Committee Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, for lacking in merit.
The CCT Chairman had challenged among other things, the powers of the Senate to investigate him in an alleged assault perpetrated against a security guard at Banex Plaza in Abuja.
He is also asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate, its members, and agents from conducting or continuing to conduct investigations into the allegations of assault leveled against him via a petition submitted to the Senate.
Specifically, the plaintiff wants the court to determine whether the alleged case of assault which took place at Banex plaza in Abuja on March 29, 2021, formed part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate, as it’s not subject to the provision of section 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution.
The victim, Clement Sargwak, had alleged that he was assaulted by the CCT Chairman and a policeman attached to him in March 2021 at the popular Banex plaza Abuja where he worked as a security guard.
According to Sargwak, the CCT boss assaulted him while undergoing his lawful activities after he informed him that his car was wrongly parked.
The victim, therefore, asked the Senate to ensure justice is done over his case.
Court dissolves marriage over sexual denial by wife
An Igando Customary Court on Tuesday dissolved the union between Mr Taofeek Muritala and Mrs Jelilat Muritala on grounds of frequent fighting and lack of love.
The petitioner, Mr Muritala, a resident of No.11, Muritala Taofeek St., White Sand area of Isheri in Lagos State, had approached the court on Dec. 2, 2021 seeking the dissolution of his 10-year-old marriage to his wife.
He alleged that his wife was very troublesome, being too heady and not taking care of their children.
“Our problem started in 2002 when I was a motorcycle operator and my wife just delivered a baby.
Then, I used to give her N100 as daily allowance, but for some time I could not meet up because I had to also deliver money to the owner of the motorcycle I was riding.
” One day, she calculated all the money I owed her which she said amounted to N900. On that day, she held on to my shirt, fought me and insisted that I must give her the money or else that I would not leave the house.
“It was the neighbours that had to intervene and in the process, she tore my cloths.
“She would always leave the house and only to return later whenever she felt like.
Also, she dislikes my mother, alleging that my mother used to complain that the pieces of meat she put in the pot of soup were always too big among other flimsy reasons.
“Each time my mother was visiting us, my wife would fight her. Because of the incessant quarrels between them, I had to advise my mother not to visit again.
” Also, I’m the one who is always taking our children to school. She does not have the time to take care of them; she does only what pleases her, she’s such a hooligan.
“Anytime there was a fight between us, she would not hesitate to draw out a knife or break bottles,” he said.
The petitioner also told the court that his wife would not take to corrections and was fond of disrespecting his family, hence, there is no more love between them.
He then urged the court to grant him a divorce from his wife.
The respondent, Mrs Jelilat Muritala, a caterer and a resident of the same address as her husband, countered all that her husband said, but told the court that they used to quarrel because of sex.
“Our fight is simply because of sex, he demands sex everyday and I’m tired of it.
Also, it is not true that I don’t take care of the children, I always do. He only takes them to school since he operates a motorcycle.
“I do not also fight my mother-in-law, but there is nothing I do that pleases her. She complains about everything I do, but I have a cordial relationship with other members of my husband’s family.
“He said that I used charm on him; that is also a lie. When he was very sick, I took him to a church where he was given blessed water which cured his illness, so how does that translate to charm?
“Although, he claimed that it was not the water that healed him that it was the charcoal he took,” she said.
The respondent told the court that truly there was no more love between them since her husband had married a second wife.
She added that she had moved on with her life.
The President of the court, Mr Koledoye Adeniyi, in his judgment said that after listening to both sides, the respondent was not submissive enough and to make matters worse, they dragged their children into their rift.
He said that it was wrong for the wife to have denied her husband sex even though he was demanding it daily, adding that it was part of what contributed to the failure of the marriage.
According to the president, the woman’s act of denying her husband sex was what pushed him into marrying another woman to satisfy his sexual urge.
“In this view, the marriage has broken down irretrievably and therefore the dissolution of their marriage succeeds ,” he said.
He ordered the petitioner to give the respondent the sum of N200,000 as severance allowance and to also pay the sum of N150,000 to assist the respondent to secure an accommodation where should would relocate to.
He also ordered the petitioner to take good care of the younger children in his care and be responsible for the education of the grown up children.
He said that any violation of the judgment would be regarded as contempt of the court and would attract six months’ imprisonment without an option of fine.
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