The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has warned courts against recklessness in the handling of cases.
It said that caution was highly needed by the courts to prevent anarchy and loss of public confidence in the judiciary.
In a statement by its President, Olumide Akpata, the NBA said it would soon obtain the Certified true Copies (CTC) of the FHC proceedings and processes filed in the case to enable it to take a position.
The association also urged Nigerians, particularly lawyers, to refrain from employing intemperate language to characterise judgments and/or judges.
The statement partly reads in part: “ The NBA must emphatically state that all courts must act in accordance with the dictates of the law and having regard to justice in order to forestall the breakdown of law and order which is certain to occur when the generality of Nigerians ultimately lose confidence in the court system.
“The NBA wishes to call on Nigerians and especially legal practitioners, to refrain from employing intemperate language to characterise judgments and/or judges of our courts.
“The rules of professional conduct and the ethics that regulate our profession enjoin us to treat our courts and judges with the utmost respect.
“We must reiterate that there are legal and constitutional avenues to challenge unfavourable Judgments and lawyers and indeed the generality of Nigerians are therefore enjoined to explore these avenues rather than resorting to unwarranted and counterproductive attacks on judges and the Judiciary.
“In this regard,
“I have already spoken to one such senior lawyer who, in the wake of the judgment, issued and published certain deprecatory statements that cast aspersion on the. person of Justice Evelyn Anyadike and he has since retracted the said statements.
“The NBA has also noted some of the complaints about the judgment and its consequences, and these include not just the substance, which critics accuse of conflating that cadre of government officials referred to as political appointees – and the subject of the vexed Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act – with public officers within the meaning of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“We have also noted the somewhat usual circumstances surrounding the case, especially the blistering speed with which the case, filed on 8th March 2022, was heard and determined on 18th March 2022.
“While it is a truism that justice delayed is justice denied and that we have long complained about the delays that ordinary litigants face in the determination of their rights and obligations before our courts, it is also correct that justice rushed is also justice crushed, especially in cases of public interest such as the case at issue.
“NBA will immediately apply for the certified copies of the judgment, the process filed, and the record of proceedings in the case, from the Federal High Court, Umuahia and thereafter decide on the next appropriate steps.
“In the meantime, we once again call on Nigerians in general, and lawyers in particular, to exercise restraint and decorum in commenting on these significant legal developments.”