Politics

Justice Ariwoola must end overpopulating Supreme Court with judges with appellate practice ― Alliyu

Justice Kayode Ariwoola, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has been urged to sanitise the Supreme Court by ensuring that the quality of judges adjudicating on cases have the prerequisite experience the highest bench requires.

The call was made by Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN), on Monday, while reacting to the emergence of Justice Ariwoola as the Acting CJN, and wishing him “a successful tenure free from rancour and blackmail.”

According to Alliyu, Justice Ariwoola is expected to bring to an end to overpopulating the Supreme Court with judges who never had appellate practice but rather rose from magistrate courts thereby leading to public service judgments.

“The first task before him is to bring experienced private practice practitioners to the Supreme Court bench to allow for cross-fertilisation of ideas and anti-establishment judgments as done in the time of Justices Elias, Eso, Oputa and Nnamani of the golden age of the Supreme Court!

“For the second time in half a decade, we have Justices from the private Bar becoming Chief Justices of Nigeria. The last being My Lord Justice Onnoghen. For many years from the time of My Lord Justice Mariam Mukhtar, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, popularly called “Ariwoooo” by the Gov of Ondo State, Arakunrin Akeredolu, has been the powerhouse of the Supreme Court in terms of following the principle of stare decisis to letter and sound principles of law for the good of the society.

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“He led the Supreme Court; and in fact wrote the leading judgment; in dismantling the hitherto finality of the judgement of the National Industrial Court surreptitiously put in the Constitution by the erstwhile powerful president of that court,” Alliyu said.

He added that from his years of practice in both the public and private Bars, the Acting CJN is expected to look closely at the operations of the apex court with a view to bringing it in tandem with the modern-day apex Court as obtainable in other climes.

“There is no reason why cases should spend close to 8 to 15 years before being heard. I have a land matter which briefs have been filed since 2008 still pending at the Supreme Court! In that wise, the rules of the Court must change! Briefs should be enough to decide appeals.

“After all 95 per cent of the appeals are argued within five minutes of identifying the briefs by simply saying, “I adopt and rely on my brief!” Cases going to Supreme Court can also be limited to those without concurrent findings by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

“Justices of the courts could also be divided into divisions like commercial, land, constitutional, labour, criminal and human rights with five justices manning each of the divisions. This will necessitate the appointment of justices and conversion of some offices which are utterly under utilised into courts if new courts cannot be built on the large expanse of land left undeveloped for years at the Court,” he urged.

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Justice Ariwoola must end overpopulating Supreme Court with judges with appellate practice ― Alliyu

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