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Plateau Polls: Appeal Court Legalised Severe Miscarriage of Justice, Says Situation Room

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“It is important that the NJC takes steps to bring to book, the Justices of the panel in the Court of Appeal.”

A coalition of over 80 human rights organizations under the aegis of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSCR) has called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to take action following the lead judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agbim of the Supreme Court in the appeal of the Plateau State Governorship election petition.

The Apex Court had reprimanded the Court of Appeal panel which sat over appeals on legislative elections conducted in Plateau State.

Justice Agbim had stated that the Supreme Court has held in a number of cases that nomination of candidates is an internal affair of a political party, and demanding that “the legal profession should wake up.”

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The NCSSR in a statement by its Conveners, Yunusa Ya’u, Mimidoo Achakpa and Franklin Oloniju, drew attention to Justice Inyang Okoro’s concurring statement to wit “My only worry is that a lot of people have suffered as a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision. It was absolutely wrong.”

Situation Room believed that “there was a severe miscarriage of justice and subversions of the will of the people, caused by the Court of Appeal panel that sat over the cases of legislators elected at the State and National Assembly levels of Plateau State.”

The statement said, “Given that the Court of Appeal was the final judicial authority over these matters, and in fact that the Supreme Court had set down precedents that were binding on the Court of Appeal panel, it is important that the NJC take steps to bring to book, the Justices of the panel in the Court of Appeal and other similar appeal panels who have acted in flagrant violation of set down precedents.

“This action by the Court of Appeal panel has wrought and brought severe injustice and desecration of the people’s democratic right to choose their elected representatives and should not be allowed to go unpunished.

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“Situation Room calls on the NJC to take steps to re-establish the importance of judicial precedence in the judgment processes of the Court and ensure that Judges comply with this well-established principle of judicial practice. Otherwise, our court system and judicial traditions which have been violated by this appeal panel will continue to be the target of desecrations by judicial officers who seek opportunities to down our justice system.”

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