Acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola has warned politicians and members of the executive arm of government to refrain from acts that may undermine the judiciary and endanger the nation’s democracy.
This was stated on Thursday by the acting CJN while declaring open the 2022 conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA -SPIDEL), in Abuja.
Ariwoola, who was represented by Uwani Abba Aji, justice of the supreme court, said politicians and the executive arm of government have constantly interfered with the independence of the judiciary.
“This conference is timely and the theme fitly reflective of the season and time we are in. The electoral process has been set in motion and the 2023 elections are just a stone’s throw away,” he said.
“We are fully aware that it is in a period like this that the executives or those seeking and aspiring for political positions will not tread on the path of the rule of law, the Electoral Act and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but will rather act on their whims and fancies to clinch to power.
“Interestingly, the judiciary shall be in the centre stage of this to equipoise between the electoral players and further catalyze and administer justice, fairness and equity in the courts where their petitions shall flow.
“Without equivocation, the past and present political regimes in Nigeria have not ceased to intervene and interfere in the premises of the judiciary and have almost diluted its supposed sanctity, whittled down its powers and authority and tampered with its independence and autonomy through various ways and means.
“I conclude that the underminers of judicial authority must understand that since the three arms of government, though separated, but fitly fused, are joined together to bring out the best in any government or democracy, undermining one arm or the other is to spell doom and anarchy for that government, even to the detriment of the undermines.”
In his welcome address, Monday Ubani, NBA-SPIDEL chairman, said the conference’s theme, ‘The Undermining of Judicial Authority in Democracy’, was chosen with care to highlight the fact that other arms of government have not treated the judiciary well in terms of obeying court judgments, provision of basic facilities for efficient discharge of judicial functions, and taking care of the welfare of the judges.
“The judiciary has remained a poor cousin, a weeping and aggrieved sibling in a relationship of three brothers of equal age and status. This is very unfair,” he added.