Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad has asked three judges to appear before the National Judicial Council (NJC) to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting the conflicting ex parte orders.
Due to the increasing conflicting court orders, the CJN had issued a summon on August 30, requesting that six judges explain their recent court orders.
This was revealed in a statement by Soji Oye, NJC director of information.
According to the statement, the meeting, which commenced at 11am on Monday, and lasted till 5:30pm, began with a one-on-one interaction with the chief judges.
“Each of the CJs was separately quizzed personally by the CJN for over an hour, before later reading a riot act in a joint session with all of them,” Oye said.
Oye said the CJN, who was visibly angry, stated that “damage to one jurisdiction is a damage to all. We must therefore put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgements or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping.”
“Your job as heads of court is a sacred one, and it, therefore, includes you vicariously taking the sins of others. There must be an end to this nonsense. You shall henceforth take absolute charge in assigning cases or matters, especially political personally. We shall make example with these three Judges and never shall we condone such act,” the CJN was quoted to have said.
However, the names of the three judges referred to were not mentioned.
The CJN further warned the judges to avoid “unnecessary assumption of jurisdiction in matters with similar subject and parties already before another court, protect the court from lawyers that are out for forum shopping, and work in tandem with all their Judges to salvage the image of the judiciary”.
“Justice Muhammad also warned the CJs [against] making newly appointed judicial officers vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced judges,” the statement reads.
“He revealed that all heads of courts will be invited to a meeting to reemphasise the need for the judiciary to be circumspect on the issue of granting ex parte orders and will also meet with the NBA leadership on the issue.
“The CJN advised all heads of court to be current on the development in the polity and the judgments delivered by courts of various jurisdictions and to urgently issue practice direction to guide Judges in their various courts to avoid giving conflicting decisions.
“He concluded that the judiciary will no longer condone indiscipline or allow any Judge to tarnish the image of the judiciary.”