The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has warned lawyers and other members of the public against making “unguarded comments” on live cases still pending before various courts.
Justice Onnoghen, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Awassam Bassey, specifically expressed concern about comments in the media concerning the ongoing legal dispute over the Anambra Central Senatorial District seat.
The CJN said such comments were tantamount to contempt of court which could earn the commentators a jail term.
He also charged judges not to take lightly cases of such infractions, urging them not to hesitate to wield their punitive powers against culpable persons violating the principle of subjudice.
He said more worrying was the fact that languages being used to describe judgments of court were not only ungentlemanly, degrading and contemptuous, but amounts to uncharitable insults.
The statement read, “The attention of the Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), His Lordship Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has been drawn to the emerging and continued practice of discussions of matters that are subjudice in the print and electronic media, such as the issues concerning the Anambra State Central Senatorial District dispute.”