Conflicting Court Orders: CJN Summons 6 High Court CJs

CJN Justice Tank Muhammad

In what appears to be a swift response to reports over the menace of conflicting orders by courts of equal jurisdiction, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has invited six High Court Chief Judges to explain the rationale behind the development.

The invitation is a prelude to their appearance before the National Judicial Council (NJC), the body saddled with the responsibility of dealing with erring judicial officers.

Thisday in its Monday, August 30 Edition, with the headline: ‘Concerns Mount as Court Injunctions, Orders Threaten Nation’s Democracy,’ expressed worries over the spate of conflicting court orders by some judges across the country.

Between June and August no less than six High Court judges had issued restraining orders on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and major political parties in the country, such as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Some of the states CJ invited before the NJC include that of Rivers, Jigawa, Kebbi, Imo and Cross River.

A copy of the letter of invitation cited by our correspondent indicated that the affected Chief Judges are to appear before him as a prelude to the larger one by the NJC to explain what warranted issuance of conflicting orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

While the High Courts of Imo, Jigawa and Anambra needs to explain their roles in the Anambra governorship election, the High Courts of Rivers, Kebbi and Cross River on the other hand are involved in the case of the PDP Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

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Our correspondent noted that the CJN complained bitterly on the huge embarrassment caused the Nigerian judiciary by the actions of those who issued the conflicting orders upon ex-parte applications by some political parties.

The summons dated August 30 read in part “My attention has been drawn to media reports to the effect that some Courts of coordinate jurisdiction were granting conflicting Exparte Orders on the same subject matter.

“It has become expedient for me to invite you for a detailed briefing on the development.

“This is even more compelling having regard to earlier NJC Warning to judicial officers on the need to be circumspect in granting Exparte applications”.

Our source, who pleaded anonymity, confided in our correspondent that the meeting between the CJN and the Heads of Court concerned is a prelude to the larger NJC meeting likely to hold next week.

The CJN who was reported to be worried and bitter on the unfortunate development, intends to use the meeting to be seized of the facts for an informed NJC deliberation.

Our correspondent gathered that Justice Muhammad, swung into action in order to stem the tide of what clearly has been an embarrassment to the Judiciary in the past couple of weeks.



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