9th October, 2014
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has charged President Goodluck Jonathan to stop his Administration’s brazen assault on the judiciary by ordering the immediate withdrawal of the security agents deployed to block the resumption of the courts in Ekiti, as ordered by the National Judicial Commission (NJC), chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the act of deploying security agents to prevent the courts from re-opening as directed by the NJC amounts to undermining the Judiciary and the Constitution.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is the head of the Judiciary, ordered that courts in Ekiti must re-open and that security personnel should do their jobs by providing security. Instead, the security agents were willfully deployed to prevent the courts from opening.
This violation flies in the face of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This undemocratic encroachment and erosion portend great danger for our nation and constitute a threat to our democracy.
“The Presidency is not constitutionally in any role able to second guess, override or reverse the Judiciary. Our constitutional democracy recognizes separation of powers, and the constitution clearly identifies the scope of each organ’s powers and the head of each branch. This administration’s conduct in frustrating an order of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC is a new low in lawlessness and illegality. The Presidency is implicitly conveying the message that it is unnecessary to obey the Judiciary. The only result of such conduct is anarchy and chaos.
“Essentially, the PDP-led Administration of President Jonathan is holding litigants to ransom, preventing and perverting the course of justice, and restricting access to the common man’s last hope. This action is tantamount to arresting a judgment, something the bar and bench consider with the utmost vile,” it warned.
APC said the truth of the matter is that it is the Presidency that is encouraging both the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police and the Brigade Commander to thwart the directives of the NJC by deploying security agents to seal the court, under the pretext of some phantom security report.
The party said the entire plot is simply aimed at ensuring that the courts will not be opened until Governor-elect Ayodele Fayose is sworn-in.
“The NJC has directed that the case against Fayose, being a pre-election matter, should be completed before he is sworn in on 16 October. The NJC further directed that the same judge that started the matter should complete it, and then asked the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security to enable the judge hear and conclude the matter.
“The Presidency is now hiding under a cunningly manufactured security report not to reopen the court until Fayose is sworn in. This is an invitation to chaos. Never in the convoluted political history of Nigeria has a President openly humiliated the Judiciary as President Jonathan is doing presently. Having destroyed every national institution, the President has now moved to destroy the Judiciary which is the last hope of the common man.
“But we want to sound a note of caution: Once the Judiciary of a nation is destroyed, then there is nothing left. This is the highest form of impunity. It is a gross violation of the constitution and an attack on the principle of separation of powers when the executive arm is preventing the Judicial arm from operating.
“For how long will the courts remain closed. What is the responsibility of the police, the army and the SSS if they cannot protect lives and property. It is wrong for one man to hold the whole state to random, simply because he boasts of the capacity to set the state on fire,” it said.
APC said President Jonathan is simply destroying the judiciary by protecting a man who leads thugs to beat up a judge, adding: “When a President encourages the desecration of the Judiciary, that President is destroying the very foundation and pillar of not just democracy but of the entire society”.
The party called on the international community to prevail on President Jonathan to stop this assault on democracy, peace, stability, law and order.
“Mr. President, you cannot in one breath claim that you believe in the rule of law and at the same time be humiliating Judges not only by protecting those who are beating them up but even more destructively preventing them from discharging their constitutional duties.
Mr President, no one will invest in a country where there is no strong, independent judiciary, not to talk of one in which the President encourages his party men to beat up Judges,” it said