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Published On: Fri, Oct 29th, 2021

The Nigerian Judiciary: The Lost Hope Of The Common Man

By Chief Malcolm Emokiniovo  Omirhobo .

LAGOS OCTOBER 29TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Learned gentlemen of the legal profession both at the bar and bench  , today the 27th day of October,  2021 my faith in the Nigerian judiciary was  shaken to its  foundation . Today    my high hopes that the Nigerian judiciary is  the last  hope of the common man  was shattered but nonetheless , I thank my creator that I  managed to retain my sanity to enable me  remain undistracted ,  resolute and undaunted  in my quest to seek justice for all  . I am not just  making sweeping statements but I stand on solid facts which I can   substantiate and  that can  be verified by anybody.

Today,  I   had five public interest cases   scheduled to come up for hearing . Four at the Federal High  Court,  Lagos before a judge  and one at the Delta State High  Court, Ughelli judicial division .

The first case,  suit No  FHC/ L/CS/ 3/2020 between Chief Malcolm Omirhobo V Central Bank & 5 Ors  is one in which the Arabic inscription on the Nigerian Naira Notes is being challenged as  improper ,  illegal , unlawful and unconstitutional .

The second case,  suit No  FHC/L/CS/87/ 2021 between  Chief Malcolm Omirhobo V. FGN & 10 Ors is for  the enforcement of the fundamental right to life , dignity of persons , freedom of expression , peaceful Assembly and Association and  right  of  Nigerians   to own property against  the FGN , the AG ,  Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  the NIMC, NCC , & 5 Or

The third  case,  suit No  FHC/ L/CS/2/2020 –  between Chief Malcolm Omirhobo V. Nig. Army & 5 Ors is one in which  the Arabic inscription on the Nigerian  Army Logo is been challenged  as improper ,  illegal , unlawful and unconstitutional .

The fourth case,  suit No   FHC/L/CS/204/2020 between  Chief Malcolm Omirhobo v IGP & 4  Ors  is one for the    enforcement  of my fundamental right to freedom of expression,  movement  , peaceful assembly and association  and those of  the Nigerian public as it concerns the enough is enough protest in Lagos and Abuja .

The fifth case  ,  suit No:UHC/109/2017-  between Chief Malcolm Omirhobo V. The Delta State Government & 2 Ors  is one for the enforcement  of my fundamental right to freedom of movement  and that of Deltans during monthly  environmental sanitation exercise .

The  status report on my fifth case is  not encouraging as usual .  It   could not go on today on the ground that the NBA conference is on going in  Port Harcourt , Rivers State and was consequently adjorned.  As  simple as this case is ,  my originating motion  have been on for over four years  and has  not been determined by  three different judges. It may   interest  you to note that   I have not missed court for one day but that notwithstanding , the court have failed , refused and or neglected to adopt the written addresses of parties who are ready to go .  Gentlemen these judges receives salary every month for doing nothing . Gentlemen how do you explain this ?   Gentlemen tell me where is the hope of the common man in  our country Nigeria  where the court is shy , timorous and too scared to enforce the constitutional right of the citizens just because it does not want to offend the executive or legislative arm of government but would rather offend the principles of separation of powers  and his oath of office ? Gentlemen if you ask me I will say that  the hope of the common man in Nigeria is lost  and that we need to find it before it is too late by leading the way .

The status report on my four other cases at  the Federal High Court , Lagos State  is that after the first case was called up and   adjourned  for definite  hearing , the second case was called up but regrettably  and unfortunately it  ended up in a fiasco . The judge kept asking me if  the third  and fourth cases are  related to the first and second cases in substance and I said no . I applied  for  the  withdrawal of  my motion exparte and motion on notice which has been over taken by event and my prayers was granted .

Since the  NIMC and Minister of Communications were represented in court I prayed the court to  order them  to extend the dead line for the synchronization of  the NIN of Nigerians with their SIM cards   from the  30th day of October  2021 to a later date pending the determination of the suit  but the court refused. My  Lord,  was of the opinion that if the Minister and NIMC  refuses  to extend  the dead line  on their own and it works injustice  against Nigerians , the court  can always undo the act  but I made the court understand that this approach will work untold  hardship and injustice  on the public. I tried hard to persuade the court that   we have ran to the court to seek refuge and protection and that it is has the powers to grant my application . I pressed further that the court is  not only there  to give remedy for a wrong or injury suffered  but also there   to pre-empt  injury and prevent it by preserving the res of a case . At this point my Lord became hostile and took a swipe  at my person educating me on how not to allow activism get into my head and all that  . He could not contain his disdain  for my guts  to the extent  that without taking into consideration  the fact that   parties in my third case  were  present in court barred me from appearing before him for the day .I without hesitation respectfully  demanded to know what kind of proceedings  is that ? He then proceeded to make a ruling that he was not going to hear my other  two  suits  and they both stood adjourned . The judge boasted that   I can go anywhere  I want to report him  and that  if I like I can apply for him to recuse himself from handling all my case which are six in all .

At  this point ,  I told the judge respectively that I no longer feel safe in his court and consequently applied  that he  recuse himself from  all my cases pending before him  which he did by transferring all of them  to the administrative judge for reassignment . He threatened me and swear to jail me if I make any noise in his court  . Thanks to members of the Bar  present in  court if not I may have  been  in the  Ikoyi  or Kirikiri correctional center by now . But to tell you the truth I am not scared of going to prison for a just cause . I  did  not alter a word because of the respect I have for the bench and legal profession,  as my Lord boasted that if he hears one word from me , he will  send me to  jail . Knowing that my Lord ,  had ruled on my case and that I have no right of audience  unless he allowed me , I bowed to his Lordship and left his presence to de-escalate the situation saying to myself if men were God .

 

Being treated like this by a judge is not new to me  and with years of experience I have  developed  thick skin to insulate myself but what about the common man ?  I am worried about  him because he has no  defence mechanism  but to recline to faith . I have always  known that once you file a case  in Nigeria against the Federal Government and the Attorney  General  there is always one additional  deadly invincible    defendant to reckon with,  hidden there like  the hidden charges in a  contact  or the  secret beam of a  building  .

That powerful  defendant is no other person but  the judge  himself .  So tell me  Gentlemen where lies the hope of the common man ?  Gentlemen verily , verily I dare  say on to you that the hope of the common man in Nigeria  is lost  because the situation right now is that  it is easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the common man in  Nigeria to get justice against the Nigerian Government. The judges descend to the arena  and  continue to antagonize you , frustrate your case by   letting it  to be overtaken by event or  rendering it nugatory or an academic exercise . Imagine on the 26th day of October 2021 , I received  a call from the court registrar  asking to know if I will becoming to court the next day for my  case since it has been overtaken by event and I said I will . I asked him who told him that my case has been overtaken by event and  whether he is a lawyer .  He said he is a lawyer and that he was just sounding out his opinion .  I told him that I will becoming to court because none of my cases has been overtaken by event .

Now learned Gentlemen at the Bar and the Bench  tell me where lies the hope of the common man,  the weak, poor, vulnerable , illiterate and the uninformed Nigerians  in the face of our timorous  judiciary who are too scared to interpret the law ,  who pick and choose the case  to hear and look at faces when administering justice ,    who are afraid of the executive arm of goverenment  and cannot apply the simple principle of separation of powers  ?

As the hand of the clock ticks slowly towards the  31st day of October 2021 , the Nigerian public are once again  exposed to the callous , senseless ,  recklessness , whims and caprises of the executive .  Who will protect them  if not us by leading the way ?

 

We are watching .

 

Chief  Malcolm Omirhobo,  lawyer and  human right activists writes from Lagos

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