Nigerias first female Chief Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar
An Open Letter To The Chief Justice Of Nigeria: Intervene And Protect Bayelsa State Judiciary Now!!! ? By Chief Wonibowei Dickson
I wish to inform the Chief Justice of Nigeria that the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson has made several unconstitutional attempts to pervert the course of justice in Nigeria. Whenever the decisions of a High Court are restrained by the Governor of a State, the Chief Justice of the federation can draw strength from the vested powers of his Lordship?s office and prevent a situation where the Executive arm will use the Judiciary as machinery for political or personal vendetta.
The issue is that three Local Government Chairmen were sworn-in by the Chief Judge of Bayelsa, Justice Kate Abiri on the 18th of December 2012 after a landslide Supreme Court victory, Judgment was delivered by Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC on the 14th of December 2012. The Chairmen are those of Sagbama, Ekeremor and Kolokuma / Opokuma Local Government Councils of Bayelsa State. Ever since they assumed office, they have been inundated with threats capable of making their tenure unpalatable. And this moves as we are told is been instigated by the Governor. The threat is coming from a fraction of councilors who have taken it upon themselves to do the bidding of the Governor and his Aides who have sworn to remove them from office when they have spent just a month and a handful of weeks in office.
In response to the illegal move to impeach the chairmen by suspended members of the council, the chairmen instituted actions in court wherein the Chief Judge of the state was made a party. Despite the dependency of the suit the defendants have continued in their lawless act in utter disregard and disrespect for the Honourable Court. This is also in the face of the fact that all the court processes have been served on them and the state Chief Judge.
Your Lordship, it has been the position of the Law from time immemorial that once a matter is pending before a court parties ought to restrain from taking steps in relation to the matter pending the determination of matter by court. On no ground, the Chief Judge under the directive of the Governor has constituted a panel to investigate any alleged offence against the chairmen.
The Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri is now another military in democracy as she puts the Judgment of the Supreme Court under her carpet without recourse to the tenets of judicial principle in the country. She is more less a Judge in her own case.
This is sad and embarrassment to the noble law profession. This is what she did during the dark days of former Governor Timipre Sylva were she was asked to frustrate Sylva?s deputy, Barrister Peremobowei Ebebi who hails from same community, Aleibiri in Ekeremor local government area. Infact, this is her judicial job in the state. Please, invite us if she denied any knowledge about it.
The Chief Judge in the state also sat on matters of public interest without assigning them to Judges. She is presently, using family members who fought for her when Sylva was reluctant in confirming her as Chief Judge of the state. These are real facts that are in available in public archive.
But there is an order of the High Court restraining the Chief Judge from constituting any panel to investigate any alleged offence against the three chairmen. Please, call her to order as her activities in the state Judiciary is a disgrace to profession.
On January 29, 2013 the High Court granted an order restraining the defendants from sitting as a legislative arm to pass a resolution pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated January 28, 2013. That in total defiance and utter disregard to the Honourable Court, the defendants gathered themselves at an unknown destination to the exclusion of the claimants and decided to commence an impeachment proceeding against the chairmen.
It were the defendants that asked the Chief Judge to constitute a panel to investigate the alleged offences against the chairmen when there is a suit in court in that direction.
We want the Chief Justice of the Federation to prevent chaos by restraining the Chief Judge of BayelsaState from constituting any panel of investigation pending the determination of the issues between the parties.
The Bayelsa State Judiciary has been caged and conditioned by the totalitarian Governor and courts of Law have been induced to pervert justice. The judiciary must not allow itself to be governed by the Executive arm. Court decisions must override group loyalties and subjective interests. Our nation?s judiciary must at all times maintain the sanctity of the rule of law, the principles of separation of power and the supremacy of the constitution.
We are writing you this letter with the hope that you have the final say with matters that have to do with the judiciary in all the thirty six states of the federation. We also believe that no Governor in Nigeria is above the sanction of the Chief Justice of the country. If it is so as it happened in BayelsaState, the world will crave to describe our courts as uncivilized, primitive and underdeveloped.
It is indeed shameful and strange for a police officer who is also a Lawyer to ignore and defy the prerogative of the judiciary because he is the Governor. Whereas, as a Lawyer he knew more than the layman the validity of a court decision. Therefore, his actions were deliberate and intended to disparage the nation?s sound judicial system and he should be shown the way out.
Chief Wonibowei Dickson,
National Judicial Service Commission
The President Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa ? Abuja.