“Public Opinions Can Never Take the Place of Law”: CJN Speaks Amid Court’s Sacking of 3 Governors

“Public Opinions Can Never Take the Place of Law”: CJN Speaks Amid Court’s Sacking of 3 Governors

  • Amid the heavy criticism against the Nigerian judiciary, judges have been told to stay firm and unfazed by public opinion
  • This charge was given to the judges by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola
  • He stated that public opinions and sentiments would not sway and pressure the judiciary

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

FCT, Abuja - The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has emphasised the judiciary's commitment to making decisions independent of public sentiment.

Amid accusations of bias in electoral dispute rulings resulting in the removal of governors and lawmakers, the CJN urged judges to stand firm.

Olukayode Ariwoola, CJN, Judiciary
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has told judges to stand firm against being swayed by public opinion. Photo Credit: Dr Francis
Source: UGC

Speaking at the commencement of the special session for the 2023/2024 legal year and the induction of 58 newly appointed Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Ariwoola reassured his dedication to upholding the rule of law, ensuring the judiciary's complete independence, and fostering public trust.

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As reported by Daily Trust, CJN Ariwoola said:

“I expect every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the bar, and discharge all your judicial functions with all the humility at your command.
“Even while doing this, it is still necessary to have at the back of your minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before you.
“The law remains the law, no matter whose interest is involved. In all we do, as interpreters of the law, we should endeavour to severe the strings of emotion from logic and assumption from fact."

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The CJN also announced plans to augment the Supreme Court's justices to meet the constitutional requirement of 21 members.

He highlighted the success of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO), initiated in 2018, in expediting trials related to corruption and financial crimes.

Notably, the committee contributed to 10 convictions by the ICPC and 1,094 by the EFCC during the 2022/2023 period.

CJN rolls out stats of concluded cases in court from Sept 2022 to July 2023

Providing a statistical overview, Ariwoola disclosed that the Supreme Court dealt with 1,271 cases, including motions and appeals, between September 12, 2022, and July 11, 2023.

Among these were 388 political appeals, 215 criminal appeals, and 464 civil appeals.

Additionally, the court considered 49 criminal motions, 153 civil motions, and two political motions.

During this period, the Supreme Court rendered 251 judgments, encompassing 125 political appeals, 81 civil appeals, 45 criminal appeals, and 91 rulings.

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In another report, Farooq Kperogi said that even if the judiciary had overturned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory, none of his top two opponents would have been declared the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Legit.ng reports that Atiku, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won 25 per cent or more of votes in 21 states in the poll in February 2023.

Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and the Labour Party (LP) candidate, won 25 per cent or more in 16 states plus the federal capital territory (FCT).

Source: Legit.ng

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