CJN wants gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion pe­ti­tions to end at Ap­peal Court

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

The Chief Jus­tice of Nigeria (CJN) Jus­tice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar yes­ter­day said the re­mit­tance of gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion pe­ti­tions to the Supreme Court is caus­ing dis­trac­tions to the ju­di­ciary.

She said pe­ti­tions em­a­nat­ing from gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions should or­di­nar­ily ter­mi­nate at the Court of Ap­peal.

The CJN said this when the on­go­ing na­tional con­fer­ence com­mit­tee on ju­di­ciary vis­ited to her yes­ter­day.

The CJN said “per­son­ally, I am par­tic­u­lar about sec­tion 233 of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion that deals with ap­pel­late ju­ris­dic­tions of cases be­fore the courts for ad­ju­di­ca­tion. There are sev­eral cases that ought not to come to the Supreme Court and should have ter­mi­nated at the Court of Ap­peal.

‘’I feel all gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion pe­ti­tions tri­bunals mat­ters should ter­mi­nate at the Court of Ap­peal be­cause as a re­sult of those po­lit­i­cal ap­peals other reg­u­lar or­di­nary cases suf­fer at the Supreme Court. Is­sues of chief­taincy and in­ter­locu­tory ap­peals ought to ter­mi­nate at the Ap­peal Court be­cause they con­sti­tute dis­trac­tion here in the Supreme Court.”

The com­mit­tee said the visit was to seek her views on some ar­eas that needed to be amended in the con­sti­tu­tion for speedy ad­ju­di­ca­tion of cases in the courts.

The 25-mem­ber com­mit­tee was led by Prof. Awwalu Yadudu as its chair­man.

Jus­tice Mukhtar said the im­me­di­ate past CJN, Jus­tice Dahiru Mus­da­pher had set up stake­hold­ers’ com­mit­tee when the Na­tional As­sem­bly called for a me­moran­dum for the amend­ment of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion.

She pre­sented a copy of the com­mit­tee’s re­port which presently be­fore the Na­tional As­sem­bly say­ing it is “our own in­put to the present con­sti­tu­tional de­bate.”

A mem­ber of the com­mit­tee Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) sought her opin­ion on vol­un­tary and com­pul­sory re­tire­ment ages of 65 and 70 years re­spec­tively for ju­di­cial of­fi­cers.

Her re­sponse was: “If you shift the vol­un­tary re­tire­ment age to 70 years and put com­pul­sory re­tire­ment age at 75 years, so many Nige­ri­ans will pre­fer to sit tight. (They will say) they can man­age even if their health be­gins to fail them at the age of 70 years. Many of us are highly dis­hon­est and can never ad­mit the fact that they are no longer ca­pa­ble, other­wise there are many judges that are still vi­brant at the age of 70 years’’.

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