The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has expressed displeasure over alleged inconsistent decisions of the nation’s courts especially on election petitions.
This followed public complaints about contradicting decisions, particularly by divisions of the Court of Appeal. The CJN fears the situation is capable of eroding public confidence in the Judiciary.
Therefore, he suggested that the Appeal Court create “an internal law report for Justices to access either electronically or in print in order to reduce the avenue for conflict in its jurisprudence.”
He spoke in Abuja last week at the 2015 edition of the Annual Conference of the Court of Appeal. He also reminded the Justices of the Court of Appeal of suggestion made in 2008 by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Niki Tobi, to the effect that “immediately a decision is given in one division, it should be sent to the other divisions without delay.”
“It bears reminding that the overriding objective of every legal system in the world is to do justice. However, this cannot be achieved where there is confusion as to the state of the law as pronounced by the court.
“As your lordships will agree, where an aggrieved person perceives, whether rightly or wrongly, that they will not receive justice, such a situation can indeed bode ill for the community in which he lives and can lead to acrimony and anarchy.
“We must not ignore the negative perception that is occasioned by conflicting judgments delivered at various divisions of the Court of Appeal.
“Such judicial contradictions only result in untold hardships to litigants in their quest for justice. They further cast your lordships in an unfavourable light and leave the judiciary at the mercy of inuendos, crass publications and editorials,” Justice Mohammed said.
He commended the court’s Justices for their positive contributions to the development of the nation’s justice delivery system.
“I must similarly commend your lordships for being instrumental in propelling the judiciary towards an improved system of administration of justice in Nigeria.
“With one justice of appeal to 1.8 million Nigerians, I dare say that your efforts at dispensing justice, despite frightening caseload, can best be described as extraordinary,” he said.