A non-governmental organisation committed to enhancing justice delivery in Nigeria, Citizens’ Gavel,
has petitioned the National Judicial Council, NJC expressing grave concerns over the gross violation of the revised Judicial Code of Conduct by Judicial Officers.
The petition specifically addresses the judgment in Appeal Number: CA/KN/EP/GOV/KAN/34/2023 delivered on the 17th day of November 2023 by Justice Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein, Justice Bitrus Gyarazama Sanga, and Justice Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu.
The group noted that the judgment in question, involving the case of Yusuf Abba Kabir v. All Progressives Congress & Ors, has raised significant concerns among the Nigerian populace due to its inconsistencies, particularly in Kano State, as it could potentially lead to a state of anarchy.
The group in a statement issued by its
Communication Associate, Rachael Adio described the lead judgment, delivered by Justice Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein, as a “judicial somersault,” adding that the Judgement appears to contradict itself on critical issues within the same paragraph.
“Citizens’ Gavel highlights the inconsistency in the judgment, where the learned Justices appear to have both resolved the issues in favor of the 1st Respondent and against the Appellant while simultaneously declaring the opposite in the same paragraph. Furthermore, the organisation questions the setting aside of the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal and the awarding of costs in favor of the Appellant despite ostensibly finding no merit in the appeal”, it stated.
In the petition, Citizens’ Gavel emphasised that the actions of the Justices have not only eroded public confidence in the judiciary but have also brought disrepute to the Nigerian Judiciary, amounting to a gross violation of the Revised Judicial Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016.
In light of these concerns, Citizens’ Gavel urged the Nigerian Judiciary to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the judgment in question.
The organisation insisted that if the Justices are found culpable, disciplinary action should be taken in accordance with the law.
Nelson Olanipekun, Esq., Team Lead for Citizens’ Gavel, states: “We humbly urge the Judiciary to investigate the circumstances surrounding the judgment and to discipline the justices if found culpable. We believe in upholding the high standards of conduct outlined in the Revised Judicial Code of Conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
“Citizens’ Gavel expresses gratitude for the judiciary’s attention to this matter and looks forward to a swift resolution that upholds justice and maintains the trust of the Nigerian people.
In a similar petition dated December 23rd, 2023 sent to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the absence of judicial independence in Nigeria, the organisation sought active involvement of the rapporteur in efforts aimed at enhancing judicial independence in Nigeria.
The letter reads “In light of the persistent challenges related to the absence of judicial independence and the diminishing trust of Nigerians in the legal system, four civil societies (Citizens Gavel, Hope Behind Bars, NULAI and TAP Initiative associated with the Open Justice Alliance have formally petitioned the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence Of Judges and Lawyers.
“The purpose of this petition is to seek the active involvement of the rapporteur in efforts aimed at enhancing judicial independence in Nigeria.
“The intervention of the United Nations in these matters is crucial to addressing potential threats to the judicial system in Nigeria and promoting the principles of justice and accountability.” The executive director of Tap Initiative, Martin Obono, expressed.
In the petition, the Open Justice Alliance calls for an immediate investigation into the conduct of the Justices involved, citing potential violations of the Revised Judicial Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016.
The alliance expresses concern that the independence of the Nigerian judiciary may be threatened due to allegations of corruption, inducement, and harassment of the justices.
“Our specific demands include an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the judgment of Honourable Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein, Bitrus Gyarazama Sanga, and Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu in relation to the Kano state governorship election petition appeal; a recommendation and or appeal to the National Judicial Council for the Discipline of these Justices if found culpable of contravening the Revised Judicial Code of Conduct 2016 and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of Judiciary 1985, and explicit transparency and accountability in the investigation process.”
“In accordance with Article 22 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Open Justice Alliance emphasizes the importance of a robust and independent judiciary in supporting Nigeria’s nascent democracy. The alliance urges the Special Rapporteur to intervene and defend the eroding independence of the Nigerian Judiciary”.
“Nigeria’s nascent democracy relies heavily on the judiciary to foster its growth and uphold fundamental rights. A compromised judiciary poses a serious risk, potentially leading to citizen apathy and, ultimately, societal chaos, as citizens may feel their rights to elect leaders have been undermined,” said Nelson Olanipekun, Citizens’ Gavel’s Team Lead.
“The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is now involved in the investigation and is believed to be working to address the concerns raised by the Open Justice Alliance and uphold the principles of judicial independence and accountability.”