Appeal Court President asks Politicians to stop Pressurizing Judges Handling Electoral Cases
The President of the Appeal Court, Justice Monica Dongbam-Mensem, has urged politicians to stop piling pressure on the judiciary while it is determining political cases.
The Appellate Court President said it was expedient for justice to be delivered without any form of interference, intimidation, manipulation or fear for the entrenchmwent of the rule of law.
She made the call on Monday, in a message to the fifth criminal law review conference of the rule of law development foundation in Abuja.
Both justices of the Supreme Court, Appeal Courts and Polls Petition Tribunals had come under attacks by the opposition politicians since the 2023 polls, when courts’ verdicts did not favor them.
Justice Dongbam-Mensen explained that highly sensitive political cases nationwide are being transferred to Lagos and Abuja divisions of the appeal court, to ensure a safe environment for the dispensation of justice.
According to her, judges to be assigned such cases are usually not notified of their case dockets until close to the hearing of the cases.
The Appeal Court President, said this was to insulate the judges from undue pressure and threat to their lives.
She, therefore, urged politicians to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship, adding that all elections should not always end up in the court.
Democracy is beautiful, it is the way to go. However, politicians should, in the interest of our national economic development, imbibe the spirit of good sportsmanship.
They should pay more attention to internal democracy and exercise the spirit of loyalty to a cause, which necessarily entails letting go in the interest of discipline and internal harmony.
All elections need not end up in court, she said.
In his remarks, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), condemned attacks on justices of the Presidential Election Petition tribunal in Abuja.
Fagbemi said, Litigants and lawyers must insulate the judiciary from undue media vilification and partisan criticism.
It is unacceptable to engage in extreme, outlandish criticism, inclusive of direct threat on judges in the discharge of their judicial duties.”