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Lawyers differ on ‘judiciary as hope of the common man’

High Court

A human rights lawyer, Hamid Ajibola Jimoh, has warned that Nigerian citizens are losing faith in the judiciary as the avenue for settlement of disputes.

Jimoh who noted that citizens now relied on self-help, said it could result in anarchy and chaos in the country.

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He said, “Here comes the challenge of citizens departing from the path of approach to court for judicial determination, rather, they engage in self-help, jungle justice, vengeance, retaliation, among others.

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“It must, however, be clarified that it is not really that those citizens or individuals do not know that the court of law exists or that the court is to be approached for redress, but because the trust that majority of citizens have in the judiciary is dying gradually.

“Citizens no more have faith in a just determination of disputes by the impartial umpire-the court-and in the court’s system, rather, they prefer to do their things or decide their matters in their own ways, the situation which if allowed to stand, will lead to anarchy and chaos thereby making things to fall apart.

“It is important for the reader and the government to be bothered by this sudden gradual loss of judicial status as the last hope of the common man and to investigate the likely causes of this great challenge.

“In my humble view and with my respectful reasoning, I have observed some of these causes which I will like to share. I understand that though, there might be contrary views from the reader, this view remains mine.”

He said the socio-economic right of every Nigerian citizen to social justice had been guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

Jimoh said, “This right to access Nigerian courts in compliance with laid down procedures is also conferred on every individual who is a member of the United Nations (UN) as conferred by Articles 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Resolution 219A (III) of December 10, 1948, to which Nigeria is a member. To this point being made by the above referenced laws, it is clear that the rights of every citizen of Nigeria to access the court of law for remedy is sacrosanct.”

However, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and member of the Body of Benchers, who pleaded anonymity, believes that although the judiciary is not 100 per cent perfect, it is not as bad as it seems.

He, therefore, wants Nigerians to be positive about the outcomes of the country’s judicial system.

He said, “The judiciary corrects itself, and that is why it is in hierarchy; if the high court does something wrong, the Court of Appeal will correct it. So, it is not correct to demonise the judiciary.

“Look at the 45 days detention order against Sowore sought by the government, people may think that the judiciary might have been high-handed, that might be correct, but the Court of Appeal is there, you can go there and they would challenge it. They know it can be them or their relatives tomorrow.”

 

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