Guardians of Democracy and Development Initiative, a famed rights group has called for the immediate sack of the President of the Appeal Court and all the justices that participated in the ill-fated miscarriage of justice in Plateau State and elsewhere following the 2023 general elections.
This is coming as the Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court in Plateau State had intentionally set aside judicial precedents and material evidence before it and nullified the elections of all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over a matter outside their respective jurisdictions.
While addressing journalists during a Press conference in Abuja, the National Convener of the group Comr. Igwe Ude-Umanta unequivocally charged the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to immediately sack those involved in the broad day judicial miscarriage and willful assault on democracy to forestall a repeat of such nuisance.
According to the release, “our democracy has been punched in the face by a set of Judges who abandoned the law, judicial precedents and sound legal reasoning to pursue interests suspected to be pecuniary. Across the country, many elected officials lost their freely given mandate in suspect judgements in which the Election Petition Tribunal or Court of Appeals assumed jurisdictions over matters it has none.
“More disastrous is the monumental disaster which swept off nearly all the mandates given to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau.
The brazen judicial heist by the Justices of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu who presided over the cases emanating from Plateau State did was horrendous to say the least. It remains one of the greatest assaults on democracy in Nigeria.
The rights group insisted that, the judiciary which has always been the final refuge of the common man must have no place for compromised misfits, shuddering at the possibility of such Judges finding their way to the Supreme court and the damage it will wrought our judicial system and democracy.
“For the records, these Justices unjustly sacked 2 Senators, 3 members House of Representatives and 16 State House of Assembly members in Plateau State. There was no reason in the Nigerian laws to have done that. We have every reason to believe that justice was deliberately miscarried and NJC must wield the big hammer. There was a malicious intent and it must be treated as such in line with disciplinary guidelines of the NJC. This mess must be repudiated and remedied”, the statement added.
While lauding the thorough and professional intervention of Supreme Court Justices in the Governorship election cases of Plateau, Kano and Zamfara were compromised Judges of the Court of Appeal had earlier truncated justice for personal and selfish gains, the rights group maintained the era of vexatious and perverse judgements must come to end in Nigeria.
“Save for the Supreme Court, the crises that would have been ravaging Plateau State now if the case of Governor Caleb Mutfwang were to be terminated at the Court of Appeal like those of the House of Assembly and National Assembly would have been unimaginable. Same for Kano and Zamfara. The country would have gone up in flames because these few errant Judges or Justices at the Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
“The Supreme Court has always distinguished itself and in delivering the judgement in Plateau State Governorship election, Justice Emmanuel Agim was emphatic in stating that the Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court lack jurisdiction to entertain pre-election matters, adding that the Supreme Court has held in a plethora of cases that the sponsorship of a candidate for election is an internal affairs of a Political Party. The willful disregard for judicial precedents is therefore, unacceptable and deemed malicious. Those Justices should therefore be sacked forthwith,” the statement added.
The right group passionately made a clarion call on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to act with dispatch and firmly to restore the hope of Nigerians in the judiciary, arguing further that, in spite of the brilliant intervention of the Supreme Court, the judiciary is in a mess as far as these judgements are concerned and without any form of pretension, sweeping it under carpet will be injurious to Nigerians.
“We cannot pretend that this is a case of mere mistake or differences in legal opinion. There is total lack of confidence in the Court of Appeal as we speak, especially against the backdrop of how they were severely berated by the Supreme Court. This looks more like a judicial hatchet job. The NJC should get rid of all Justices like those both in the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal for Plateau, Kano and Zamfara States. They should be sacked now before they will corrupt the system completely,” the statement concluded.