Let Supreme Court decide only constitutional matters, Body of SANs task government

The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) has canvassed that only constitutional matters should be allowed to get to the Supreme Court.

The body equally advocated that each state of the federation should be allowed to own her Court of Appeal, saying carrying over of cases in court should be discouraged as such can only lead to denial of justice.

The chairman of the body, Alhaji Abdulahi Ibrahim (SAN) made this advocacy on Thursday at a valedictory session held in honour of retired Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati.

Represented by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Ibrahim further called for the establishment of the constitutional court, saying it would help in decongesting work load in Nigeria’s court.

According to the body, when the constitutional court is established, it will effectively handle pre and post-election cases, leaving other courts to adjudicate in civil and criminal cases.

Awomolo who decried the turning down of earlier proposal, was however quick to attribute it to lack of foresight, advising that it should be revisited and reintegrated into the constitution of the country in compliance with Section 250.

Awomolo noted that in doing that, all political matters, including pre and post-election matters and election petitions would be effectively handled by the court, while all appeals from the court will terminate in the Court of Appeal.

Explaining further, he said each state of the federation should have her own Court of Appeal and that only constitutional matters should be allowed to go to the Supreme Court.

He said, “The revelation by the Federal High Court that over 16, 000 cases were carried over from 2019 to 2020 legal year with many of the cases filed over four years ago is a trend that must not be allowed any longer because it can lead to denial of justice.

“Decongestion in all the courts has become a great burden, a source of concern and embarrassment.  In the Supreme Court, only political cases are being heard on a daily basis.

 “Indeed, every day, on the course list of the Supreme Court, there are about 12 to 15 cases for hearing. The Court of Appeal in all the divisions is daily preoccupied with pre and post-election cases.

Not done, the body of senior lawyers also canvassed that the Code of Conduct Tribunal which has been elevated to criminal court must be seen as a judicial body as a result of the enormous powers invested in the tribunal, adding that it must be made a part of the court under Section 6(5) of the constitution and that any person to be appointed must be certified fit and prosper in every sense of it.

Awomolo thereafter called on the Bar and the Bench to push for a constitutional amendment to back up the establishment of the suggested constitutional court.

Delivering his speech at the occasion, the acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho extolled the virtues of his predecessor, saying that his contributions led to the enactment of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019, as well as constituting anti-corruption unit in the court to avoid corruption.

In his response, Kafarati, the retired Chief Judge started with a caveat saying; “The world is nothing but a stage where everyone has a part to play”

According to him, “We should all strive to play it well”

 While thanking everyone for the honour done him, he particularly praised other judges for their contribution in making his tenure, as head of the court a success.

Born in July 1954, Justice Kafarati bowed out of the service of the Federal High Court after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.

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