Nigerian Bar Association
in collaboration with
Access to Justice
CALL FOR MEMORANDA For Revision of the
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE) RULES
Access to Justice (AJ) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) are working together, and in collaboration with other stakeholders, to review the current Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules and make proposals for reform to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). The CJN, Hon. Justice I.L. Kutigi has accepted to receive our proposals towards reform of the rules, and has asked that all stakeholders be involved in the review process. Read more...
Nigerian Bar Association
in collaboration with
Access to Justice
RULE OF LAW INITIATIVE
(ESTABLISHMENT OF JUDGEMENT REGISTRY IN ALL NBA BRANCHES)
As part of its efforts to enhance respect for the rule of law in Nigeria, maintain the authority of the courts, and ensure Federal and State governments adhere faithfully to the prevailing rule of law policy, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in collaboration with Access to Justice (AJ), has launched a Judgement/Order Compliance Registry Programme (JOCRP), under its Rule of Law Initiative. This programme is specially designed to enable the NBA confront impunity to court orders by ensuring that all court judgments, orders and directives are complied with at all levels, and among the different branches and departments of government.
Accordingly, the NBA has mandated the establishment of a Judgment Registry in all of its 88 local branches. Lawyers and litigants are enjoined to register, at the registry in their local NBA branches, all orders/judgments received against governments or other public authorities from May 1999 to date which have not been complied with. This initiative is intended to generate a comprehensive list of orders/judgments (including monetary awards) yet to be implemented and enforced. For
full details of this programme and the procedures to be followed after a Judgment/Order is registered click here
Access to Justice’ latest publication- “Reforming for Justice: A Review of Justice Sector Reforms in Nigeria 1999 - 2007.”Reforming for Justice is a dissecting review of the progress Nigeria has made towards reforming justice institutions since the transition to democracy in 1999, in various thematic areas. It evaluates the strengths/weaknesses of efforts to galvanize change and improvement to different aspects of the justice landscape, identifying the achievements as well as the challenges that still remain in the field. It also suggests ways these challenges can be engaged and dealt with, in as strategic, dynamic, and timely a manner as possible. It provides a comprehensive reference material for those interested in the reform of the justice sector in Nigeria. Read more…
Access to Justice’ Cases on Human Rights (CHR) 2005, 2006 and 2007 editions.Cases on Human Rights is a rich cocktail of groundbreaking, compelling and empowering decisions, sourced from superior courts in Nigeria, the Commonwealth, America and Europe, and provides comparative resources of great value for your research and application. The 2005 edition is a special edition inspired primarily by the need to confront and remedy systematic practices in custodial institutions and facilities that often strip people of their humanity and dignity when they pass through the criminal justice system. The 2007 edition reports and reproduces, amongst others, the ageless Indian case of Olga Tellis & 2 Ors v. Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors which broadens the meaning of the right to life. This edition also reports several inspiring Nigerian decisions on various human rights issues. Read more...
Access to Justice’ Balance of Justice Vol. 2. This volume, the second in a three part serial, sustains Access to Justice’ performance exploration of justice delivery in the Federal High Court, Lagos Division. This volume looks at court monitoring, both as a concept and as a necessity for improved justice services delivery in line with global practice; it also looks at the efficiency of the administrative machinery in the judicial division under focus. Read more…
Nigeria , Human Rights and the African Commission
The 42 nd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was held in Congo Brazzaville from 14 th to 28 th November 2007. The session drew a large crowd from different sections of the human rights community in Africa and almost every African State was represented, including Nigeria. The agenda was simple: Human rights situations in Africa. And Nigeria was in the spotlight on several issues. Read more…
Lagos Puts New Coroners’ Law into Operation
A new law to regulate the Coroner’s system is now in force in Lagos State. The new law titled “A Law to Establish The Lagos State Coroners’ System, Regulate the Process of Death Investigation and for other Connected Matters” repeals the former law that was largely dormant and un-enforced. Under the new law, the Coroner’s system is now “under the control and administration of the Chief Coroner of the State” (section 1(2) and the Chief Coroner will now be a High Court Judge, to be appointed by the Chief Judge. Read more…
Access to Justice Expresses Deep Concern about Ex Parte Court Orders that Interfere with Efforts to bring former Public Officers to Account
On Wednesday 10 October 2007, a Federal High Court in Benin City, Edo state reportedly issued an order of interim injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from carrying out certain actions against Chief James Ibori, the former governor of Delta state, and other serving and erstwhile office holders in Delta state. The order, made pursuant to an ex parte application, and signed by Justice G.C. Okeke in effect forbids EFCC from taking any steps to arrest or detain Chief Ibori and the others. The EFFC is also restrained from freezing any of their accounts or compelling them to release any documents or information requested by EFCC in furtherance of its investigations into allegations of corruption against the parties. Read more…
Access to Justice Salutes President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua for Positive Steps Taken To Reaffirm Judicial Authority Over State Agencies and Roll Back Culture of Impunity
Prior to and during his inauguration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua promised “100 percent commitment to the rule of law” and pledged to respect and abide by court decisions. A number of steps taken by his government are positive in this respect, and give hope that his government can roll back a culture of impunity that characterized the behaviour of state agencies under the erstwhile government. Read more…
Oyo State Judiciary: Pawn in Executive Intrigues
The framers of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary stipulated, as a matter of principle, that “The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and… It is the duty of all government and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary”. This principle is premised on the understanding that judicial autonomy is a means towards a strong judicial institution, which is an indispensable component of constitutional democracy. However, recent happenings in the judicial landscape in Oyo State, particularly the unorthodox and questionable patterns of appointment, removal and reappointment of judges to the office of the state Chief Judge, by the State executive, belie this age-long concept of judicial independence. Read more…
Celebrating Judicial Fidelity to the Rule of Law
Our nascent democracy has been laced with fascinating political and constitutional disputes, each one presenting a new test to the strength and integrity of the judicial arm. The Courts have, at sundry times and at various levels, been called upon to make constitutional declarations on the fundamental rights of citizens; and they did not disappoint. The Judiciary has indeed posted very impressive results and has inspired confidence amongst Nigerians in the judicial process. Read more…
Oyo State … Waiting for NJC
Nigerians, and indeed the world are watching as political office holders have once again taken their battle into the judicial precincts. This time the arena is the Oyo State Judiciary. Not that this is unexpected considering the constitutional responsibilities of the judicial arm of government, however it becomes worrisome when judicial officers charged with the responsibility of resolving their disputes carry on regardless of tell -tale signs of the ill wind associated with previous episodes, which have often times left the judiciary scorched and ridiculed in the politicians’ battle for supremacy. It becomes instructive that judicial officers take heed, lest they fall. Read more…
Did Tochi Deserve To Die
It is indeed ironical that as the Nigerian actress, Hassanat Akinwande AKA Wunmi, celebrated her sentence to three years imprisonment with an option of fine for a drug- related offence, another Nigerian, Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi was being executed for a similar offence in Singapore. Differentials in sentencing policies of both countries may well explain the disparity, but the two cases and the recent execution in Iraq of Saddam Hussein and two others for genocide have once again thrown open the question of the value of human life which usually arises whenever the subject of capital punishment is discussed. Read more…
The Judiciary as Panacea to Democratic Tyranny
Having come to the brink of another democratic era – usually referred to as “republic”, the need to assay the events of the last eight years of democratic rule cannot be taken for granted. Notwithstanding the assertion by the National Secretary of the PDP, Chief Ojo Maduekwe that democracy is not a destination but a process, there is still no virtue in learning the ropes for a lifetime. Oscar Wilde rightly condemns the deceptive act of calling mistakes experience repeatedly. Blaming the military for the regretfully enduring nascence of our democracy may be placing the hatchet safely on an alibi. Read more…
Access to Justice’ Agenda for New Attorneys General
The last eight years of democratic governance in Nigeria was particularly plagued by disobedience of judicial decisions by the executive and its agencies at various levels. This potently undermined judicial integrity and public confidence in the rule of law. It should thus be a focal priority for the federal AG to revisit all outstanding cases of disobedience, by government agencies, to court orders and ensure immediate compliance with such decisions. Read more…
Long Road Ahead To Democracy
“I cherish the idea of a new South Africa” were Nelson Mandela’s words as he cast his vote in the elections that ushered in democratic rule in South Africa in 1994. On May 29 when a new President of Nigeria is being sworn-in, many Nigerians will be expressing their revulsion of the process that has produced the in-coming government, and the idea that the state can legitimize a rogue electoral process. Regime transition has taken place in South Africa, quite credibly, while we’ve continued to treat the idea of representative democracy as an expendable idealism. Read more…
Access to Justice Condemns the Attack on Magistrate Joseph Garba Shinga
On Wednesday 21 st of March, 2007, the nation woke up to another rude shock of how Mr. Joseph Garba Shinga, a presiding Magistrate in a criminal trial of the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP) in Gombe State, Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu, was macheted in open court by miscreants reportedly loyal to the accused person after the ruling of the court that the accused should be remanded in prison custody until the case comes up on a later date. Access to Justice totally condemns the act of these assailants as a threat to the independence of the judiciary. Read more....
Tochi: Our ‘Offence’ was Objectivity
Perhaps we erred on the side of objectivity by giving a good spread and depth to the alternate school of thought under the heading “Argument of Pro–Death Penalty Groups”; but it was and it still is our thinking that presentation of alternate view points on the abolition of the death penalty issue will not only enhance the objectivity of the abolitionist cause, but it will also fortify the persuasion upon which the abolitionist cause is founded. Read more…
Rule of Law Subversion is Proving Costly for INEC, and for Nigeria
On Monday, 16 th April, the Nigerian Supreme Court ruled that INEC had no powers to disqualify any candidates for political office, and ordered INEC to include the Vice-President Atiku’s name on the ballot. Prior to this time, INEC had blatantly refused to comply with lower Courts’ orders to include the Vice-President’s name on the ballot, insisting it was only the Supreme Court’s voice it would obey in this regard. Access to Justice has denounced INEC’s repeated disrespect for judicial authority, on the ground that INEC was obligated to respect every court’s decision and orders, but nevertheless, welcomes its obedience to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Read more…
Press Conference by Access to Justice on Disqualifications by INEC despite Court Orders and its Implications for the Rule of Law
On behalf of the Access to Justice, I warmly welcome you all to this press briefing organized to raise our concerns over the political and social risk we are all exposed to following INEC’s blatant disregard for court orders and its implications for the rule of law. We are on the threshold of history and the world watches with attention. We want to warn that there are imminent threats to Nigeria’s social and political stability. These threats are self-induced by agencies of government and they include INEC, and the Federal government. Read more…
Of INEC and Complaints of Electoral Irregularities
On 14 th of April, 2007, Nigerians, determined to usher in a new civilian government, defying rumored fears of violence, and to ensure that the historical process of transition was free and fair, turned out en masse to cast their votes in the governorship and state’ Houses of Assembly Elections. However, complaints of electoral irregularities from various parts of the country, ranging from absence of INEC official at some polling stations, late arrival of electoral materials, non inclusion of candidates’ names and/or their pictures, missing names in the voters’ register, outright rigging, snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and falsification of results, soon steered calls, both national and international, for the cancellation of the elections in which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) enjoyed a landslide victory. Read more…
Access to Justice Condemns Invasion and Sealing Off of the Ekiti State High Court Complex
Access to Justice has issued a Press Statement today condemning the reported sealing- off of Ekiti State High Court on Tuesday 17th April 2007 by soldiers and mobile policemen. The statement noted that the action of the security agents gravely undermines the operations of the judicial branch of government, and directly interferes with the sanctity of courts and the exercise of rights of access to them, and requests the Inspector- General of Police and the Chief of Army Staff to remove all restrictions of access to the courts.
2. AJ Writes Protest Letter to IGP over the Sealing Off of Ekiti State High Court Complex by Security Agents
Access to Justice today wrote a letter protesting the sealing off of Ekiti State High Court by security agents, to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero requesting that he removes restrictions to Ekiti State High Court immediately. The letter which was copied to the Chief of Army Staff and others including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers condemned the action of the armed policemen and soldiers as a gross abuse of the rights of citizens to judicial recourse, and gross disrespect for the rule of law, saying further that it violates the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the judicial branch and negates all the important values enshrined in the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. It also enjoined the IGP to reaffirm his avowed commitment to upholding human rights, and respecting the rule of law, and also to take necessary action against all those who may have authorized the wanton interference with the judicial process in Ekiti State.
Rule of Law Subversion is Proving Costly for INEC, and for Nigeria
On Monday, 16th April, the Nigerian Supreme Court ruled that INEC had no powers to disqualify any candidates for political office, and ordered INEC to include the Vice-President Atiku’s name on the ballot. Prior to this time, INEC had blatantly refused to comply with lower Courts’ orders to include the Vice-President’s name on the ballot, insisting it was only the Supreme Court’s voice it would obey in this regard. Access to Justice has denounced INEC’s repeated disrespect for judicial authority, on the ground that INEC was obligated to respect every court’s decision and orders, but nevertheless, welcomes its obedience to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
INEC’s “Final” List of Candidates for the April Elections Shows a Regrettable, Self-Destructive Contempt for The Rule of Law in Nigeria
Access to Justice last week issued a “Public Service” Statement on the final list of candidates for the April elections released by INEC. The statement, which cited several decisions of superior courts in support of its position, condemned INEC’s disregard for subsisting decisions and orders of court directing the commission to include the names of some candidates for the gubernatorial and presidential elections. It noted that INEC’s refusal to implement courts decisions has the effect of ultimately destroying the constitutional right of access to court, which is so fundamental to the sustenance of our constitutional democracy and urged the immediate enforcement of all court decisions and orders issued to, or against INEC.
The Attack on Magistrate Joseph Garba Shinga is a dangerous signal to the Independence of the Judiciary.
On Wednesday 21st of March, 2007, the nation woke up to another rude shock of how Mr. Joseph Garba Shinga, a presiding Magistrate in a criminal trial of the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP) in Gombe State, Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu, was macheted in open court by miscreants reportedly loyal to the accused person after the ruling of the court that the accused should be remanded in prison custody until the case comes up on a later date.(Full Story)
Adamawa State Speaker’s Harassment of a Judge is a Reprehensible Threat to the Independence of the Judiciary.
The Nigerian polity is weary of the wanton disregard for constitutional provisions and due process evinced by different state legislatures in their, often selfish, bid to impeach their state Executives. The unfolding drama in Adamawa State involving the Speaker of the House of Assembly and a judge in that state is particularly disturbing and may have serious implications, if not checked properly and promptly.
Press Conference by Access to Justice on Disqualifications by INEC Despite Court Orders and its Implications for the Rule of Law
We are on the threshold of history and the world watches with attention. We want to warn that there are imminent threats to Nigeria’s social and political stability. These threats are self-induced by agencies of government and they include INEC, and the Federal government. The controversies trailing INEC’s compliance, or rather non-compliance, with court orders concerning the disqualification of some opposition candidates is gradually building a storm cloud over the nation. The incidents of INEC’s disrespect for court orders are mounting by the day and have become a potent threat to our peaceful and democratic existence.
Access to Justice writes to Mr. Leandro Despouy, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of Judges and Lawyers on the deteriorating situation of the Rule of Law in Nigeria, characterised by willfull and persistent disrespect for judicial authority
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with a population of a hundred and forty million people, and plays a significant role in the affairs of the African region. She operates a republican democracy, has a written constitution that divides power among the tripartite branches of government – the executive, legislature and the Judiciary. The Constitution secures institutional autonomy for the Judicial branch, and commands all agencies of government to obey decisions and orders issued by its courts.
AIT: Seizure of Broadcast Tapes Worsens Climate of Political Repression and Human Rights Violations by the Obasanjo Government
On Sunday May 15, 2006, operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) reportedly raided the Abuja station of the African Independent Television (AIT), and confiscated tapes of a Documentary titled “ A documentary on Tenure Elongation ”, which the station had been transmitting. The security operatives were also reported to have carted away some video tapes of the National Assembly's debate on the proposed amendments to the Constitution, which, among other things proposed an additional term of four years for the Nigerian President, (popularly called “ the third term” ). AIT had been running live transmissions of the on- going debate.
Inspector General of Police should find the Killers of late Mobitel Director Chief Alaba Joseph, and not Castigate Coroner's Verdict On 27th January 2006, the Coroner investigating the death of Chief Alaba Joseph, Mrs. Ayodele Ogungbesan delivered a verdict after several weeks of investigating into the circumstances leading to the death of Chief Alaba Joseph, deceased Managing Director of Mobitel Communications Ltd. The Coroner carried out an inquest into the death of Chief Joseph in accordance with the Coroner's Law, Cap C16 of the Laws of Lagos State. The inquest was arduous, clinically rigorous and painstaking, and sought to rationalize claims regarding the cause of death of Chief Joseph.
UN Body Indicts Nigeria for Serious Human Rights Abuses: FG Must Take Immediate Action to End Abuses and Remedy Past Violations
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra judicial summary and arbitrary executions, Mr. Phillip Alston, has indicted the Nigerian government for human rights abuses in a report he recently released embodying the outcome of an official fact -finding visit to Nigeria between 27th June and 8th July, 2005 .