Law News
Ekiti CJ to brief NJC on crisis today

The Chief Judge of the Ekiti State, Justice Ayodele Daramola, is to brief the National Judicial Council on the crisis rocking the state judiciary at its meeting in Abuja today (Monday).

The council chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar, is to among others, review the development in Ekiti State after political thugs attacked judges in separate incidents on September 22 and 25 respectively.

On September 22, political thugs invaded the Ekiti State High Court presided over by Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi to disrupt proceedings in a case challenging the eligibility of the Governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to contest the June 21 election, which he won.

The invasion took place shortly after the judge refused an application to set aside an order abridging the time for the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate to file his defence in the case filed by two members of the Ekiti-11, Mr. Adeniyi Ajakaiye and Olufemi Ajayi.

On September 25, another judge, Justice John Adeyeye, was beaten by some political thugs who also tore his suit into shreds.

On the same day, there was tension at the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in a matter between the All Progressives Congress and Fayose.

The NJC had directed the police to investigate the incidents and also to provide security for courts in the state to ensure impartial administration of justice.

This followed the closure of all the courts in the state by the CJ who expressed fears over the safety of judges in the state.

Despite the order to the police to ensure that courts work under an atmosphere of peace without intimidation of judicial officers, the security agencies comprising of soldiers, police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have since Tuesday took over the premises of the Ado Ekiti High Court and the Court of Appeal.

There has yet to be any official reason given for the deployment.

Meanwhile, the Speaker House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwwal, and the National Human Rights Commission, have demanded investigation and prosecution of those that carried out the attacks on the judges.

Tambuwwal, who, spoke in Ado-Ekiti at the public presentation of two books-Legacy of Honour and Service, and Governance and Politics in an election year-written by the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, described the attack on the judiciary as “an unfortunate incident.”

He said, “The judiciary is not only the last hope of the common man, but it is an institution in the arms of government that must be respected.

“By the time we decide to take laws into our hand, who would be there to adjudicate? It is unfortunate, it is condemnable, it should be investigated and those who perpetrated that act must be brought to book.”

Tambuwwal urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that the 2015 elections were transparent and credible.

“We expect INEC to conduct the elections with every sense of national commitment or patriotism without any favour to either of the sides.”

He also said he would abide by the decision of the House not to discuss the issue surrounding the bitched $9.3m and another $5.7m arms deals between Nigeria and South Africa.

In a communiqué issued by the NHRC Governing Council at the end of its third (2014) statutory meeting held in Owerri State between October 9 and 11, the commission stated that the criminal law in Nigeria clearly prohibited attacks on the persons of judicial officers.

“Council views any attack on the judiciary and Judicial officers as egregious, reprehensible and deserving of the most serious sanction possible under law.

“Council calls on all relevant State institutions to deny impunity to such agregiousness by taking appropriate steps to defend, protect and preserve the integrity of the judiciary and of the officers who preside in the courts.”

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