Vexed by the lack lustre and lackadaisical attitudes of the heads of the three mainstream Courts to the flagrant violations of subsisting court orders by President Muhammadu Buhari, a pro-democracy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked them to defend the integrity of the court system.
HURIWA challenged the Chief Justice of Nigeria Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen; President of court of Appeal Mrs. Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, and Chief judge of federal high court Mr. Adamu Abdul-Kafarati to work as a team and support the head of the judiciary in Nigeria being the Chief Justice of Nigeria to fashion out a sustainable response mechanisms that could compel the head of the executive arm of government to comply with all binding court orders to avoid the collapse of constitutional democracy in the Country. HURIWA insists that the hierarchy of the judicial system in Nigeria is needed now more than ever to show courageous leadership by standing on the side of the constitution to demand strict adherence to the tenets of the principle of rule of law because allowing the naked desecration of the temple of justice by one branch of government and to continue to pretend that all is well will not augur well for sustainable democracy. Democracy it argues survives when all the primary drivers of the process are compelled by all lawful means to comply with the binding rules governing constitutional democracy and most especially the rule of law.
The group specifically condemned the heads of the different courts in the country for doing nothing whilst the head of the executive arm of government continues to disregard court rulings which amounts to an unconstitutional conducts, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of Court of Appeal and the Chief of Federal High Court are collectively charged to salvage the image of the court system and restore it to its constitutional pride of place.
In another development, the group has faulted the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to pick the reported step sister of the Kaduna state governor (Nassir Elruffai) Zainab Ahmed a Fulani like himself as finance minister after the resignation of the immediate past Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun who had to leave following swirling allegations of certificate scam.
The Rights group criticized the President for concentrating key and strategic beats in the hands of only a section of the country just as it accused the President of nepotism which violates section 14 (3) of the constitution.
“Why should this government concentrate the most important appointments in the cabinet such as Finance, Defence, Justice and the entire internal security team in the hands of a section of Nigeria and alienating others. This divisive tendency is a grave threat to national security and the survival of our union as a united political and sovereign entity?”
“Total control of all security infrastures and the concentration of same in the hands of the President’s kinsmen who share same religion is a constitutional abomination which must be aborted forthwith just as HURIWA cited the replacement of a competent acting Director General of Directorate of State Security Services Mr. Mathew Seiyefa with a retiree from Kano state Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi”.
The Rights group which carpeted judges heading the diverse segments of the judiciary in Nigeria for failing to exercise their powers such as boycotting all cases filed by the presidency and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation until such a time the president complies with half a dozen binding bail orders in favour of erstwhile National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Shiites Islamic Movement, Ibrahim Elzaczacky, cautioned them that time is not on our side to stop the coming catastrophy that may come by the persistence of these cumulative breaches of the principle of rule of law.
“How does the chief justice of Nigeria; the president of court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Federal High Court feel every day they go to work to realize that the head of the executive arm of government has consigned several binding judgments of courts to the dustbin of impunity? Why not embark on peaceful boycott of cases instituted by the President? What is the essence of operating the institution of the judiciary when the holder of the office of President picks and chooses which decisions of the courts to obey?”
Referring specifically to the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, HURIWA asked him to worry more about how rulings of the different divisions of his court are rubbished by the President instead of dwelling on such sensational issues such as banning judges from issuing ex parte injunctions in political cases.
“We have just read that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, had barred judges of the court from granting ex parte orders in political cases and even gave a deadline of October ending to judges to conclude political cases with likely effect on candidates in the forthcoming elections in the country but we are asking him to work with the other heads of the Court system together with the head of the Judicial arm of government to restore respect and credibility to the Judiciary already rubbished by the serial violations of court orders by President Muhammadu Buhari.”