The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) has urged other arms of government to respect and promote the independence of the judiciary.
According to them, no arm of government, or its ministry, department, agency, functionary or appointee must be seen to be above the law.
“The doctrine of rule of law presupposes equality before the law and this is important as the concept of rule of law is the bedrock upon which any modern democratic society rests,” BOSAN said.
In an address by Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) on behalf of BOSAN at the 2020/2021 legal year ceremony of the Federal High Court held in Abuja, the group said the need for obedience of court orders by all and sundry, no matter how highly placed, cannot be overemphasized.
“The reality as at today, that some people pick and choose at will, court orders which are to be obeyed and those not to be obeyed, is really worrisome and disheartening.
“In line with the doctrines of rule of law and separation of power as constitutionally enshrined in the Sections 4, 5 & 6 of the 1999 constitution, attempts, whether direct or indirect, to intimidate, cow and/or suppress the Judiciary must be condemned and discouraged in all ramifications at all times.
“We must all be reminded that our judiciary plays a similar role to that of a mother in our democracy, and should be respected at all times. This respect must be reflected in the funding of the judiciary. Not only is it imperative that adequate funds be made available, it is also crucial that access to such funds be unhindered by any other branch of government,” Gadzama said.
For judges, he charged them to be courageous. According to him, it is in the interest of the society at large, that our laws are interpreted and decisions given in line with current realities and developments.
On the aspect of insecurity, BOSAN noted that section 14(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government, but regretted that the insecurity in many parts of the country was quite alarming, especially in the Northern states of Borno, Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara.
“Although it is not within the mandate of the judiciary or the legal profession to address this issue, one can ask; how can we be of help?
Where are our Chibok girls? Where is Leah Sharibu? Where are the boys abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State? Even if one cannot provide a solution, one can cry out for a solution!
“From available statistics, Nigeria is the third most terrorized nation in the world, out of over 195 countries, and with the recent developments we are gravitating towards the top spot. Why us? BOSAN asked.
The group wondered why mobs visited their fury on the courts, during the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest, looting the offices and burning what remained.
“In Lagos and Calabar, lawyers were attacked and law offices plundered. Why did the judiciary suffer a disproportionate share of the attacks? Could it be a matter of inadequate security? Is it because the premises are accessible? Is it mere coincidence? Or is it that people have lost confidence in the judiciary? Rhetorically, I can go on and on, but these posers are topics for another day as the answers may be far to fetch at the moment.
“It is easy to dismiss this as the work of hoodlums, but it is worthwhile to consider that it signals a general and growing disenchantment with the entire justice architecture. The man on the street is not particularly concerned with the case load of the judge or magistrate; all he knows is that the system is sluggish.
“He does not understand, or appreciate the necessity of, procedural rules; but he feels it very keenly when a hearing on the merits is truncated on purely technical grounds. These are only a few causes of this disenchantment,” the group stated.
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