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Conflicting Court Orders: 3 State CJs To Face NJC


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The Chief Judges of three states are to appear before the National Judicial Council, NJC, for granting conflicting ex-parte orders.

This was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the Director of Information of the Supreme Court, Mr. Soji Oye.

He said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, was visibly angry over the development and directed that the three state Chief Judges should appear before the NJC to show why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting the conflicting orders.

This came on the heels of a marathan meeting the CJN had with seven state Chief Judges who were summoned on the issue.

Oye said at the meeting which lasted from 11am to 5.30pm on Monday, Justice Muhammad warned that the Judiciary will no longer condone indiscipline or allow any Judge to tarnish its image. 

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He said CJN commenced the meeting with a one-on-one interaction sequentially with the CJs of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja; Rivers State, Kebbi State, Cross River State, Jigawa State, Anambra State, and Imo States, during which he personally questioned each of them separately for over an hour.

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Oye said the CJN later read the riot act to them at a joint session where he vowed to make an example with three of the seven judges.

“Never shall we condone such acts. A damage to one jurisdiction is a damage to all. We must, therefore, put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgements or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping.

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“Your job as Heads of Court is a sacred one, and it, therefore, includes you vicariously taking the sins of others.

“There must be an end to this nonsense.  You shall henceforth take absolute charge in assigning cases or matters, especially political ones, personally”, the CJN was quoted as saying.

He warned the CJs to henceforth avoid unnecessary assumption of jurisdiction in matters with similar subject and parties already before another court.

”Protect the court from lawyers that are out for forum shopping and work in tandem with all their Judges to salvage the image of the Judiciary.

“Stop making newly appointed judicial officers vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced Judges,” he added.

Oye said the CJN also disclosed that all Heads of Courts would be invited to a meeting to re-emphasise  the need for the judiciary to be circumspect in granting ex parte orders and that he will also meet with the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on the issue.

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He advised all Heads of Courts to be current on developments in the polity and judgments delivered by courts of various jurisdictions, and to urgently issue practice directions to guide judges in their various courts, so as to avoid conflicting decisions. 

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