ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Retired Justice John Afolabi Fabiyi has called for abolition of interlocutory appeal at the Supreme Court, in the wake of some criticism that trailed the stay of proceedings of Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) at the apex court.
Justice Fabiyi, who surprisingly presided over the ruling on the stay of proceedings at the Supreme Court, made this call on Wednesday in Abuja while speaking at a valedictory court session in his honour, having attained the mandatory retirement age 70 years.
“The constitution should, in my opinion be amended to make changes in the interest of reducing the workload of the court and the interest of saving legal expenses to litigants as the present system exposes litigants to unnecessary extra level of appeal.
“The direct concomitant of the change is the possibility of expeditious determination of cases that come before the Supreme Court,” he said.
According to the retired Justice, the Supreme Court which is saddled with the responsibility to uphold norms and rule of law is vested with all unprecedented powers and jurisdiction. He noted that the apex court has protected the interest of the people and safe-guided the independence of the judicial as it never failed in upholding fair hearing and rule of law principles as enshrined in the grand norms.
Justice Fabiyi, however, noted that the Supreme Court has contributed to the strengthening of the country’s national unity and fostered a distinct sense of constitutional patriotism.
Earlier, the president of the Nigeria Bar Association,(NBA) Augustine Alegeh (SAN), apologised on behalf of the Bar over attacks on the decisions of justices of Supreme Court.
Alegeh described Justice Fabiyi as a quintessential gentleman, a legal colossus and a jurist per excellence, who has contributed immensely to the development of the nation’s judiciary.
Also speaking at the valedictory court session on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigerian (NBA), Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN) said honest and diligent judges in this country sometimes have been subjected to malicious attacks , particularly by politicians who believed they must have their ways all the time, saying that Justice Fabiyi might have had his share on such attacks at one time or the other.
“But I thank God that Justice Fabiyi is bowing out from the judiciary with unblemished record with his head held high,” he said.
On corruption in the judiciary, Ibrahim said that time has come for the judiciary and its members to stand up and be counted in the fight against corruption.
“I don’t see any reason why judges should not report to the appropriate body any lawyer who goes beyond his professional calling and engages in acts calculated at perverting the cause of justice. I am sure that the Bar and entire legal profession will not hesitate to show the counsel, in respective of status, the way out. There is no immunity against discipline for any erring lawyer.
“The first duty of a lawyer is to the court. We are ministers in the temple of justice, a lawyer who makes himself a purveyor of corruption and bad behaviour is not a minister in the temple of justice, and in my humble view he is a disgrace to his calling”, he said.