Chief Justice Warns Tribunal Members To Beware Of Politicians

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmoud Mohammed, has urged members of Election Petitions Tribunal 2015 to avoid politicians so as not to compromise their duties, or risk sanctions; ahead of what promises, to be a highly contestable polls.

Mahmoud gave the advice during the swearing in of the 242 Chairmen and Members of the tribunal at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja on Thursday.

He warned the judicial officers not to allow themselves to be used by any political party or politicians to compromise their duties to the detriment of their integrity and future.

“Let me use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to all judicial officers. Do not allow any political party or politicians to compromise your integrity or your future’’, Mahmoud said.

The CJN said the National Judicial Council’s (NJC) leadership under his watch would not hesitate to sanction any judge who allowed himself/herself to be influenced by any interest group.

“We must never again be used as tools to truncate our nation’s democracy. The NJC will definitely not spare the rod in ensuring that the honour, respect and independence of the judiciary is protected”, he said.

Mahmoud stated that the tribunal assignment was very laborious and urged them to remain focused in the discharge of their duties, adding that praises and condemnations would be meted out to them.

“I need not to remind you that the tribunal is very laborious and that you are likely to be overstretched in the handling of election matters.

“Praises and condemnations will be meted out to you in the cause of discharging your duties.

“Unfortunately, some of the condemnations will come from our partners in the temple of justice – the NBA.

“I urge you not to be deterred by the uncomplimentary comments of some politicians and litigants anytime judgment is given against them”, he said.

He observed that Section 134 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, says all petitions must be filed within 21 days of the declaration of result of an election.

He reminded them that Section 285 of the amended 1999 Constitution and Section 134 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 provide that election petitions must be heard and judgments delivered within 180 days.

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