The Nigerian Bar Association has admonished the Bauchi State House of Assembly to stop overstepping its bounds in the matter of the promotion of Shariah Court judges in the state.
A member of the state House of Assembly representing Dambam/Dagauda/Jalam Constituency, Baballe Dambam, had raised a matter of urgent public importance, asking praying that the House should halt what he described as the “lopsided appointment of judges of upper courts in the state Ministry of Justice.”
The Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Emmanuel Sublim, while speaking to journalists, however, said the lawmaker got it wrong to have joined the Ministry of Justice, an executive arm of government, with the judiciary arm.
He said there was no appointment as alleged by the lawmaker, saying that the Judicial Service Commission only promoted 18 of the 36 Shariah Judges to the position of Upper Shariah Judges.
He said, “This is an issue that concerns us directly and one that is important to us. Initially, we thought that the intervention a the Chief Registrar of the Bauchi State High Court would have suffice, but we later realised that the legislative arm extended invitation to the officials on this issue.
“We feel they are overstepping their bounds. We feel, as ministers in the temple of justice, as people who know the law and as people whose major job and preoccupation is to see to it that the position of the law is defended everywhere and at all times, that we need to add our voice to the debate to tell the lawmakers, with due respect to them and their respective positions, to take it easy and that the constitution has settled everything.
“They don’t have any reason to dabble into this matter in the manner they seek to do and that is why, as we have observed, we have written to them to tell them what the law says, and we feel that it will do well to the system if everybody confines themselves within the ambit of their powers as given them by the constitution.”
Asked of what the NBA would do next, should the lawmakers refuse to stop discussing the matter, he said they will go to court to seek redress.
He added, “If, in the unlikely event, the lawmakers feel they want to take a further bite on this, the NBA will not hesitate to take them to court.
“We are on the path of law, we are on the path of civility and we must ensure that all persons and authorities subject themselves to the dictates of the constitution.”