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ICYMI: ‘You travel abroad with family but deny us training trips’ — s’court judges protest to CJN

ICYMI: ‘You travel abroad with family but deny us training trips’ — s’court judges protest to CJN
June 21
11:05 2022

Justices of the supreme court have written to Ibrahim Muhammad, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), over the deteriorating state of affairs in the apex court.

In a letter seen by TheCable, 14 justices of the apex court accused the CJN of abandoning his responsibilities as the leader of the court.

Some of the issues raised by the justices include — accommodation, vehicles, electricity tariff, supply of diesel, internet services to justices’ residences, training for justices and epileptic electricity supply to the court.

The justices said following the complaints raised earlier in the year, and “after several persistent requests” to hold a meeting which was finally held on March 31, a “welfare committee” was set up to aggregate the issues.

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But the justices added, “Your lordship received and ignored these demands since 24th March 2022”.

The justices demanded to know what has become of funds set aside for training of justices since they have been denied the usual two to three international workshops annually.

“In the past justices were nominated to attend two to three foreign workshops and trainings per annum with an accompanying person for reasons of age,” the letter stated.

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“Since your lordship’s assumption of office justices only attended two workshops in Dubai and Zanzibar. They were not accorded the privilege of travelling with accompanying persons as was the practice.

“Your lordship totally ignored this demand and yet travelled with your spouse, children and personal staff.

“We demand to know what has become of our training funds, have they been diverted, or is it a plain denial?

“Your lordship may also remember that the national assembly has increased the budgetary allocation of the Judiciary. We find it strange that in spite of the upward review of our budgetary allocation, the Court cannot cater for our legitimate entitlements. This is unacceptable!”

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On the issue of healthcare, the justices said: “The supreme court clinic has become a mere consulting clinic.

“Drugs are not available to treat minor ailments. There is a general lack of concern for justices who require immediate or emergency medical intervention.”

The justices further stated that the welfare committee submitted their request for diesel allowance, “because of the epileptic electricity supply, the astronomical hike in the price of diesel and the fact that justices require electricity to work at home”.

“The committee also requested for the restoration of our monthly Internet allowance, because we require uninterrupted Internet service in order to have access to materials online to write our judgments,” they said.

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“With regard to justice’s vehicles, several are due for replacement, while the new Justices have not received their full complement of vehicles to date. Moreover, some of the vehicles supplied to the Justices are either refurbished or substandard.”

They drew the attention of the CJN to an internal memo stating that “electricity would be supplied to the court between the hours of 8am and 4pm daily, for lack of diesel”.

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“Your lordship with all due respect, this is the peak of the degeneration of the court; it is the height of decadence, and clear evidence of the absence of probity and moral rectitude,” the justices said.

“Your lordship, this act alone portends imminent danger to the survival of this court and the Judiciary as an institution, which is gradually drifting to extinction.

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“The judiciary is an arm of government. The supreme court of Nigeria, just like the Presidential Villa and the national assembly, is the seat of the judiciary as an arm of government. The implication of the memo is that this arm of Government is potentially shut down. May God never allow that day.

“Your Lordship, this is a wake up call. Your Lordship must take full responsibility as our leader. You must not concession your responsibility to people who have no responsibility or stake in preserving and defending the dignity of the Institution

“It is either you quickly and swiftly take responsibility and address these burning issues or we will be compelled to further steps immediately. May this day never come.”

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