Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)
Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has called for an amendment of the Constitution in order to allow retired judges to handle election petitions as well as appeals arising from them.
He made the appeal in a statement issued on Thursday, saying that the injustice meted out to litigants whose cases are not political, should stop forthwith in the interest of justice.
According to him, over 350 judges drawn from State High Courts, Federal High Court and National Industrial Court who are handling election petitions have adjourned all matters pending in their courts “sine die”.
“Their Lordships and Ladyships are said to have left their jurisdictions for “national assignment” in other parts of the country.
“Apart from appeals arising from pre-election cases and election petitions, both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court are adjourning all pending appeals till 2020 and 2021.
“The vacation of the Justices of the Court of Appeal has been cancelled to enable them to handle election-related appeals,” he said.
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The SAN further stated that since all litigants are equal before the law, it is high time the preference given to election petitions and appeals by Nigerian courts was reviewed.
According to him, in some neighbouring African countries election petitions are not handled by regular courts but by constitutional courts.
Therefore, “if our retired judges can handle arbitral matters and participate in judicial commissions of enquiry they should be saddled with the responsibility to handle election petitions and appeals arising from them”.