By Sadiq Umar, Abuja.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has charged members of the 2015 Election Petitions Tribunal to avoid act capable of undermine the integrity of the judiciary, threatening to sanction any erring member who compromise in the discharge of its duty.
Justice Mahmud who spoke at swearing-in ceremony of the 242 Chairmen and Members of the tribunal at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja Tuesday, urged tribunal members to stay away from politicians and political affiliations as doing so will erode their integrity.
“We must never again be used as tools to truncate our nation’s democracy. The NJC will definitely not spare the rod in ensuring that the honour, respect and independence of the judiciary is protected,” he said.
Pointing out that Section 134 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, says all petitions must be filed within 21 days of the declaration of the result of an election and that Section 285 of the amended 1999 Constitution and Section 134 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 provides that election petitions must be heard and judgments delivered within 180 days.
“Let me use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to all judicial officers. Do not allow any political party or politicians to compromise your integrity or your future,’’ Mahmud said.
The CJN said the National Judicial Council’s (NJC) leadership under his watch will sanction any judge who allowed himself to be compromised by any interest group.
“I need not to remind you that the tribunal is very laborious and that you are likely to be overstretched in the handling of election matters,” the CJN said.
Adding that, “praises and condemnations will be meted out to you in the course of discharging your duties.
“Unfortunately, some of the condemnations will come from our partners in the temple of justice – the NBA.
“I urge you not to be deterred by the uncomplimentary comments of some politicians and litigants anytime judgment is given against them,” he said.