Home Metro Efforts ongoing to address conflicting court judgments, says FHC Chief Judge

Efforts ongoing to address conflicting court judgments, says FHC Chief Judge


By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja –  Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, says efforts are ongoing to address the issue of conflicting court judgments arising from pre-election and post-election cases in the country.
Kafarati stated this when he received the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who led management of the commission to meeting with FHC authorities on Tuesday in Abuja.
He attributed one of the causes of conflicting judgments to lawyers who approached different divisions of the court on same political matter just to secure favourable environment for the case.
“Now, what we are trying to put in place is that when you come to file a suit, most especially of political interest, you must file an affidavit.
“The affidavit will show that he is not aware or has not filed the matter in any other case in any other division.
“We hope by that we will be able to address it. On our part, we are monitoring and I am monitoring this trend to address the situation,’’ he said.
Kafarati added that the court was also referring suits on matters outside Abuja filed at the territory back to the state of origin.
He said that the court was working to address situation where INEC was being involved in litigations arising from elections conducted State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).
Earlier, Yakubu had called for the intervention of the Chief Judge in addressing conflicting judgments in order to engender certainty in the nomination of candidates and the electoral process.
He added that the visit was to hear from the High Court areas where INEC needed to do more to facilitate the speedy and qualitative administration of justice.
“As a firm believer in the rule of law, the commission always obeys court orders or where it is considered necessary, appeals in the interest of justice.
“In spite of the 1,134 cases involving the commission since the 2015 general elections, there has not been a single case in which it disobeyed court order.
“However, conflicting judgments, all of which emanate from the High Courts, are putting the commission in a very difficult situation and creating uncertainty in the process.
“The court in one judicial division may order the commission on a particular course of action only to be contradicted by another court of coordinate jurisdiction from another division or even within the same division on the same subject matter.
“Even when we tried to apply the `principle of latest in time’ by complying with the latest order, the orders appear unending.
“Sometimes the same case is pursued in different courts distinguishable only by semantics but the same consequential order at the end of the day.
“Conflicting court orders are negatively affecting the consistency, neutrality and public perception, not only of the commission, but the judiciary as well,’’ he said.
Yakubu, who described FHC as the foundation of justice, said INEC was confident that the chief judge would grant expeditious consideration to the commission’s plea.
He said that the second area of concern was the current trend to involve INEC in litigation arising from elections conducted by different and distinct legal entities.
“INEC has no legal responsibility for the conduct or outcome of local government elections conducted by the SIECs.
“Being governed by laws enacted by the State Houses of Assembly, the adjudication of disputes is done by the State High Courts.
“Unfortunately, in a number of recent local government elections, litigants have joined INEC in suits filed at the Federal High Courts.
“The reason is that only by joining a federal agency can their cases be entertained by the federal judiciary,’’ he explained. (NAN)

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