PEPTribunal: Justices At Dinner: Is the Nigerian Judiciary Independent?

by on August 29, 2019

On Thursday May 23, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari, the 2nd Respondent at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, hosted the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed with some Appeal and Supreme Court Judges.

Some of the judges seen in that dinner with President Buhari, were Judges that are members of the Panel sitting on the petition filed by the former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on the outcome of the February 23, 2019 Presidential Election.

According to Rule 1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016, judges must avoid gatherings that could appear to members of the public that they have been compromised

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In Rule 1.4 of the same Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, it states that… ”A Judge must be sensitive to the need to avoid contacts that may lead people to speculate that there is a special relationship between him/her and someone whom the judge may be tempted to favour in some way in the course of his/her judicial duties”.

Also in Rule 1.5 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, A judicial officer must avoid social relationships that are improper or may give rise to an appearance of impropriety or that may cast doubt on the ability of a judicial officer to decide cases impartially.

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In view of the above, it is morally and ethically wrong for these judicial officers to attend the said dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is standing trial at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

It is also morally wrong for President Muhammadu Buhari to host judges and judicial officers when an election petition challenging his re-election is still pending in the court, especially at the time that the judiciary is plagued with crisis of confidence in the eyes of Nigerians and the International Community.

The judiciary must therefore absolve itself by standing on the truths and deliver judgements that will renew the confidence of Nigerians and the international community in the court.

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It’s time to #RescueNigeria

Writer: Comrade Ibu Thomas


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