By Jerry Daks, Abuja
The President of Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, yesterday, revealed that the court delivered a total of
7,295 judgments and 3,665 motions in the 2022/2023 legal year.
Speaking at the commencement of the 2023/2024 new legal year, Justice Dongben-Mensen recalled that a total of 98 panels were constituted to hear election petitions across the country to handle a total of 1,209 petitions that were filed.
Breaking down the delivery, she noted that among the petitions, five were filed at the presidential election petition court and have been concluded, while some of 147 filed at the Senatorial election tribunal have been delivered and 417 petitions from the House of Representatives election are also being attended to.
Also, a total of 557 petitions associated with the State Houses of Assembly, and 83 Gubernatorial Elections petitions are being disposed off, added that twenty-eight States participated in the Governorship elections, and petitions were filed in 24 states.
Concluding, she appealed to the Minister of the FCT, Nyeson Wike to provide a large piece of land for the construction of the Abuja Division, adding that Abuja division is currently overwhelmed by voluminous documents and suffers from lack of adequate storage facilities and office space.
A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN) said on Monday that Nigeria’s continued survival greatly depends on the transparency of judicial officers in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Agabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has therefore pleaded Judges and Justices not to loose confidence and principles in themselves no matter the challenges.
He expressed that, in spite of the contributions and sacrifices of judicial officers to the survival of the country, they are still been unwarantedly attacked and criticiszed.
He warned that the country would be doomed unless the unjust attacks against judicial officers are stopped.
“It is only here that judicial officers work harder than slaves and yet, they are not appreciated. But the consolation is that the Judges in Nigeria are ematch to the devil they are contending with.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to be proud of our Justices. They are brilliant and bold and some of them appointed as Justices in other countries.
“A mistake by one Justice should be not be generalised to warrant general condemnation from any quarter. They surpass Judges from other countries. They deserve commendation for resisting the evils.
“Majority of judicial officers are standing in the face of challenges and unless we are careful with the way we attack Judges, we will loose our minds and conscience”, he said.
He said, those who critisise judicial officers are at liberty to do so, but they have to cautious in the way they go about it adding that, while critisising the judiciary, they must not abuse it.
The former Minister of Justice spoke against granting of outlandish bail conditions to suspected criminals.
He noted that the law presumes them innocent until guilt is established adding that, granting of outlandish bail that will keep them in custody is unconstitutional
According to him, “We need not to slam bail conditions that are unattainable as the principles which govern bail conditions are the same as fine governed by the constitution”.
He challenged the current AGF to use his office to improve the welfare and work conditions of judicial officers.
In his speech, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration will address the issue of shortage of Justices at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.