The Vanguard for the Independence of the Judiciary (V4IJ), a think tank that strives to protect the Independence and integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary, has admonished the United States Government to steer clear of judicial affairs in Nigeria, calling their visa ban on Nigerian Supreme Court jpustices as an attempt by the United States government to influence outcomes of judgments of the supreme court .
A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday the 1st of April, 2023, by the Convener of the Vanguard, Douglas Ogbankwa, Esq., States thus:
“The Vanguard for the Independence of the Judiciary (V4IJ), learnt with dismay the reprehensible and unconscionable visa bans on My Lords, some justices of the Nigerian Supreme Court, by the United States Government based on judgments from the court, which they find unpalatable.
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These visa bans are most ludicrous, as they represent a novelty in diplomatic engagements among countries of the world. How does the activities of an Independent judiciary in Nigeria thrreaten the national interest of the United States? We dare say that the action of the United States Government smacks of diplomatic bravado taken too far. It trivialises the essence of the United States visa policy and it is an attempt to influence the Nigerian Judiciary to pander towards the whims and caprices of the United States Government and this can never happen! Not when we are here.
We call on My Lords, the Supreme Court Justices to remain firm in their duties and see the frivolous visa ban as an unnecessary distraction.The United States does not only need to remove the obnoxious visa bans immediately, they owe My Lords, the justices of the Supreme Court an apology, as they were never given fair hearing before the said visa ban.
Even as justices of the Supreme Court, My Lords deserve to be given an opportunity to be heard as you must hear the other side, flowing from the principle of audi alteram patem, one of the twin pillars of the principle of natural justice. We call on the United States Congress to call the US State Department to order on this issue, as due process was not followed. My Lords, the Supreme Court Justices have subscribed to an oath of office to discharge My Lords’ duties without any affection or illwill. This visa ban strives to achieve the opposite.” The Statement concluded.