Following fears across the country over the ongoing suits against the eligibility of President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has declared that the judiciary would not succumb to the plot by desperate politicians to use the courts to truncate democracy.
His declaration came as he raised the alarm over what he described as a sinister move by some desperate politicians to truncate the ongoing political process through the judiciary.
He made the declaration at the swearing-in of Justice Ishaq Bello as the Acting Chief Judge (CJ) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice Bello replaces Justice Ibrahim Bukar, who retired Tuesday as the court’s CJ on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.
Consequently, the CJN warned judges not to succumb to the antics of desperate politicians, saying the leadership of the Judiciary was aware of plans by some “unpatriotic citizens” to use the courts to disrupt the electoral process.
His words: “Permit me to use this opportunity to again assure all Nigerians that, under my leadership, the Judiciary remains resolute and committed to do its constitutional duty during this election period. “We will not be swayed or distracted from the course of justice in any election matter that is before or comes before the justice system.
“It bears reminding to all heads of courts that you are primarily responsible for the preservation of our nation’s democracy. “I strongly advise all judicial officers not to allow any party or politician to use the courts to truncate our nation’s democracy.
“We are aware that some unpatriotic citizens may wish to use the courts to stop the electoral process and I wish to warn in clear terms that we shall not be used as a tool for the breakdown of law and order in our beloved country,” he stressed.
Charging the Acting Chief Judge (CJ) of the High Court of FCT to work hard and improve on the pace of justice dispensation in the court, the CJN said: “I note with particular concern the number of corruption cases that are pending before the FCT High Courts and the number that have been returned by the Supreme Court to the trial courts.
“It bears reminding that posterity does not wear a human face in its judgment. I counsel you to ensure that your work remains like sterling silver that becomes more valuable with age. “I therefore urge you to be proactive in seeking out ways to improve justice delivery especially as pertains to case disposal rate in the FCT High Court of Justice.
“Hence, I urge you to work cooperatively with the other heads of court and indeed all judicial officers in order to ensure cohesion and synergy in your resolve to uphold the dignity of the Judiciary.” Speaking earlier at the valedictory session held for him, Justice Bukar expressed gratitude to God that he retired with his head high.
According to Bukar, for the 33-year history of the court, he remained the only CJ of the FCT High Court to retire honourably, and honoured with a valedictory court service, a development also noted by the CJN in his speech.
Justice Bukar expressed gratitude to other judges for their support during his tenure in office even as Justice Bello praised the retired judge, pledging to sustain his legacy of performance. It would be recalled that last week, a federal high court in Abuja adjourned till April 22 suits instituted against General Buhari over his eligibility to contest the presidential election based on his school certificate saga.