Time To Rise Up Against Evil, By Johnson O. Esezoobo Esq
This video presents a very good talk. But I suppose it’s time to consider pressing for disciplinary action, including removal, against erring State officers, including Judges, who chose to do it wrong because they feel the blame will be heaped on Buhari. For example, a Judge is not expected to act as a robot, but a safeguard or bulwark against arbitrariness. Recently, the Governor of Ondo State engaged the impeachment process of the Constitution to remove his Deputy. It was a clear case of malicious use of power. There was visible colour of Abuse of Power by the Governor.
The Deputy needed to be protected just as the Constitution needed to be defended. And the Chief Judge of the State rose to the challenge; he turned down the process on the ground that the provisions were not strictly complied with. That is the essence of law and the idea of Separation of Powers under the Constitution so that certain persons do not see State power as their property to use at will to cut down others. The Constitution will not enforce itself.
The nation needs men and women of honour who will defend, protect and enforce the Constitution. The Judge who issued an ex-parte order freezing the account of a citizen for 90 days is a danger to the society. The The National Loyalty that his appointment as a Judge is supposed elicit is questionable.
A Judge who can take such an extreme step against a citizen in a Country under a written Constitution with a charter of fundamental rights, cannot be trusted to be relied upon to build a strong democratic norm on which the nation can survive and the rights of the citizenry protected.
We had a similar extreme situation sometime in 1987 or so when Justice Ligali of blesses memory, Chief Justice of Lagos State sentenced Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory, to 12 months imprisonment against the prescribed minimum of 3 months by law, just to impress the then Military President, General Babangida. We also have had the case of Bello v AG, Oyo State (1986)12 SC…, where a citizen was summarily executed to frustrate the appeal against his conviction.
Therefore, if lawyers and Judges who are supposed to guard the values of the Constitution and guide the nation on enforcement of the rule of law, would not do it right but wrong to the discredit of the legal profession as well as the bad governance of our otherwise great Country, then we should begin to proceed against them by raising up the disciplinary process against them.
Emphatically, a Judge who made an ex-parte order freezing the account of a citizen is not fit to remain on the Bench.
Following the authorities and open admonition of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the matter ought to be taken up with the National Judicial Council (NJC) to ask for his removal rather blaming the CBN or Lai Mohammed.
Every one of us who genuinely has the interest of this country at heart has to sit up and accept the responsibility that the EndSARS challenge has thrust on all of us. Let us not shy away from this responsibility.
Barrister Johnson Odion Esezoobo can be reached via +234803 320 0595