CJN wants governorship election petitions to end at Appeal Court
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’’.