Judicial activism to prevent the collapse of the judicial system – Opinion – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

A magistrate was reportedly reassigned recently for making an order against a commissioner, while recently an FCT High Court ordered the arrest and detention of the EFCC chairman for contempt of court. Both orders have not been enforced or complied with at the time of this article.

What do these two events mean? Lawyers understand the impact of disobeying court orders, but many citizens cannot. However, what we all know and have come to understand from these two very recent events is that Nigerians and indeed the whole world can no longer be trusted or depended on the judiciary to be the last hope or no hope Besides. Gone are the days when judges were feared. Where their presence was greeted with reverence and the words from their mouths were as if God Himself was speaking.

But why has it been the case in this country that the judiciary has lost its voice, its power and its respect. Some will say that it was the military who caused this. Others would blame the politicians, while others would argue that it is the appointment process that has been politicized and has weakened the institution of the 3rd arm of government. While all of this may be true, focusing on who or what is causing it may not be the right thing to focus on right now. The solutions are what we must now consider and I want to suggest at least one.

All judges (including lower court judges) have inherent powers vested in them. These powers are such that because of their neutrality, the judges are invested with the power to keep the peace and balance the scales between two belligerents. It may be a branch of government and a part of governance, but in all its forms and characters it should not be controlled or dedicated by the other branches of government.

A judge is independent, so each court is headed by a single judge, except for special and advanced courts like the courts, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. A judge can do no wrong, hence the ability to appeal against bringing the same case to a court of similar or concurrent jurisdiction. That said, a court that is not obeyed or respected tears at the fabric of our democracy and upsets the balance within a political system.

With these powers, an average judge should be able to overcome any attack on his authority *But no more judicial activism!* A judge can refuse to hear a request brought by a faulty party, a party who refuses to ‘obey a prior order of the researcher.

For example, the judiciary can refuse to hear a request from any government agency that does not comply with its orders, but unfortunately they do not. The police, for example, frequently disobey court orders, but the judiciary continues to comply. The executive arm of government frequently disobeys the court, but the judiciary would cower before the executive arm and make other orders in its favour, etc.

Why did the judges become afraid or nonchalant? Even if the judge is the son, daughter, wife, husband or relative of those who hold political power, even if the judge is somehow connected with a dispute that another judges trafficking, should these personal relationships destroy our nation and render it ungovernable?

All judges should stand up, reconsider their oaths above all, and do their job as a call of divine significance. Without our judges, we are nothing. We become savages, worse than animals who have nothing to offer the next generation but chaos and apathy. The phrase “The judiciary shall be seen and not heard” has killed this country… We see the judiciary doing nothing when we should hear it loudly declaring justice

We need to start seeing and hearing the judiciary. We need judicial activism to restore confidence in the justice sector.

Akinlade is a lawyer in Lagos.