Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Judicial Reviews:Stop Insulting Supreme Court,SANs Tell Politicians

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, warned his colleagues against aiding politicians to undermine the judiciary.

He advised the Supreme Court to reject such applications in order not to open a floodgate.

Adegboruwa said, “It actually borders on professional misconduct for senior lawyers to be leading politicians to seek to rubbish the judiciary. Nigerians will hold these lawyers, who are involved in these attempts to denigrate the judiciary, responsible for the loss of confidence in the judiciary at the appropriate time

“The Supreme Court should preserve its integrity, its authority and honour by closing its doors against these political opportunists, who have all become power mongers and are not ever satisfied to be out of office for a single day.

“Let all politicians who have lost election-related cases in the Supreme Court accept their fate and go back home and wait for another opportunity at the next ballot.”

Another SAN, Mr Ahmed Raji, said the new wave of fresh applications asking the Supreme Court to review its judgments would make a mockery of the system as it would diminish the finality toga attached to the decisions of the apex court.

Raji noted that although the Justices of the apex court could be wrong, the ideal approach to the issue was to wait for the opportunity presented by a future case to request the apex court to review its decisions.

He said, “I think once the highest court of the land has made a pronouncement on a matter, except in a new future matter, the Supreme Court does not entertain a request for a review of its judgment, otherwise the toga of finality will evaporate. Our system being what it is, every judgment will be requested for a review.

“I am not saying they cannot be wrong, they are human beings. It is only God that is infallible. The issue will now be if the court can entertain case A, why won’t it entertain case B? Once the court can do it once, what says it cannot do as many times as possible.”

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), called on the Supreme Court to recommend lawyers engaging in “mockery of judicial system” for discipline.

He said until that was done, the sanctity of the apex court would be in jeopardy.

Keyamo made his position known in a message on his Twitter handle, @fkeyamo, on Monday.

The minister said after destroying the sanctity of the court, the situation, if not addressed, was also capable of destroying the nation’s democracy.

He also urged senior lawyers involved in  the judgment review applications to be well guided, as “the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on review of judgments is limited to clerical errors and not to review the judgment to give an entirely different meaning to the judgment.”

He added, “The developments paint a very dangerous picture. It is worrisome and it portends  great danger for our legal system. If not checked, it can lead to anarchy. If the Supreme Court is treated this way in that every judgment can be asked to be reviewed, it means there will never be an end to litigation. It means any party who loses at the Supreme Court tomorrow, whether in a political, civil or criminal case, can come back for a review of the judgment. This should not be tolerated or encouraged in any way because it is an affront on the Supreme Court and an insult to the judiciary.”

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