One of the three-member panel of justices of the Appeal Court that set free leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, of the treasonable felony charges preferred against him by the Federal Government has revealed reasons behind their verdict.
The retired judge, Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, stated this during the valedictory court session organised in her honour by the court in Lagos, yesterday.
“The judiciary is the last hope of this country and must not allow itself to be influenced by any consideration other than to do justice in all matters. It must live up to its duty to protect the people and to deliver justice to the deserving. In doing this, it must be insulated from politics and must, where necessary, be bold enough to call the executive to order.
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“I restate an injunction I expressed in the judgment in the case of Nnamdi vs the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Appeal No CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 delivered on 13th October 2022, in which I was privileged to write the leading judgment that:
“The courts must never shy away from calling the executive to order when they resort to acts of “executive lawlessness. The duty of the courts is to maintain a balance between ensuring that law and order is obeyed and the protection of the individual from oppressive actions by the executive.
“I stand by this position. No authority must be allowed to go against its own domestic laws and international laws to perpetrate any act against its citizens.”
The retired judge, who spent 27 years on the bench, maintained that it was not acceptable that a case averagely takes more than five years to conclude at trial, more than three years in the Court of Appeal, and an average of about 12 years in the Supreme Court.
She noted that a country that seeks foreign investment must get its court system functional, accelerated, and receptive to the needs of the domestic and international people.
The judge also pointed out that no country or business wants to invest in a country where judicial disputes take forever to conclude at all. Justice Adefope-Okojie, therefore, suggested that the judiciary should embrace arbitration to speed up justice delivery.
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, described Justice Adefope-Okojie as a hardworking, fair-minded and courteous jurist.
Also speaking, the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, praised the retiring Justice for her positive and impact legacy on the beach.