SPIDEL NBA 2022 ADDRESS BY HON JUSTICE UWANI ABBA AJI, JSC-1

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ADDRESS BY
HONOURABLE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA, HONOURABLE JUSTICE OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA

REPRESENTED BY
JUSTICE UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

AT
THE 2022 CONFERENCE OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA) SECTION ON PUBLIC INTEREST AND DEVELOPMENT LAW (SPIDEL)

HOLDING AT
NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION HOUSE, NATIONAL SECRETARIAT, CENTRAL AREA, ABUJA

DATE
3RD TO 5TH AUGUST, 2022

PROTOCOL:
Distinguished members of the Nigerian Bar Association and all invited guests, you are most welcome to this 2022 Annual SPIDEL Conference with the captivating theme, “The Undermining of Judicial Authority in a Democracy”.

I sincerely commend the NBA-SPIDEL for its proactive, dogged and uncompromising role in the promotion and protection of human rights, rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. The Chairman of SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, Esq, is already well known for this herculean and uphill activism.

This conference is timely and the theme fitly reflective of the season and time we are in. The electoral process has been set in motion and the 2023 elections are just a stone throw away. We are fully aware that it is in period like this that the Executives or those seeking and aspiring for political positions will not tread on the path of the rule of law, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but will rather act on their whims and fancies to clinch to power.

Interestingly, the judiciary shall be in the center stage of this to equipoise between the electoral players and further catalyze and administer justice, fairness and equity in the courts where their petitions shall flow.

Without equivocation, the past and present political regimes in Nigeria have not ceased to intervene and interfere in the premises of the Judiciary and have almost diluted its supposed sanctity, whittled down its powers and authority and tampered with its independence and autonomy through various ways and means. We are stared in the face with the current realities that there are myriad of ways cunningly devised and sinisterly employed by the Executives and/or the Legislature and others to undermine the authority and independence of the judiciary in Nigeria, which include but not limited to: –

  • Blatant refusal or neglect to enforce court orders
  • Removal or dethronement of judicial officers who are in the blacklist of the Executive or out of step with the government in power
  • Poor remuneration and condition of service for judicial officers
  • Creation of new positions or vacancies to accommodate new judicial officers or offices to favour the government in power
  • Appointment of ideological or political backers as judicial officers
  • Flouting or frustration of court orders by the Police or other law enforcement agencies, which undermine the authority and powers of the Judiciary, etc.

I firmly believe that SPIDEL has organized this conference to seek for panacea and understanding to the elements in our democracy that undermine judicial authority in Nigeria. May the solutions that will follow be far-reaching in giving the judiciary its full authority and powers to discharge its judicial and constitutional mandate without interference. We are ready to work together and to support in ensuring that the Nigerian Judiciary is up and doing to the benefits of all.

I conclude that the underminers of judicial authority must understand that since the three arms of government, though separated, but fitly fused and joined together to bring out the best in any government or democracy; undermining one arm or the other is to spell doom and anarchy for that government, even to the detriment of the underminers.

On this note and on behalf of the Ag. Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, I declare this conference open and wish all the conferees a richly profitable and remarkable conference. Thank you for coming and God bless you all.

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