Judges
Judges

By Tordue Salem

A law to protect judicial officers from arrests and prosecution is underway in the House of Representatives. The bill for such a law is sponsored by Onofiok Luke (PDP-Akwa Ibom).

The piece of legislation exclusively obtained by Vanguard is entitled: “An act to preserve the sanctity and authority of the court as a sacred institution in order to effectively discharge its functions and exercise the judicial powers conferred on it under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’’

It states that “no criminal or civil proceeding shall be instituted against a judicial officer or officer of the court in respect of words spoken or written at the sitting of proceeding of the court.”

It also states in section 3(1) that “no judicial officer, an officer of the court or any other person, shall be arrested in court or its premises,” while section 2 states that  “no warrant of arrest shall be executed in court premises.’’

The proposed law also seeks to protect non-judicial persons charged to court or in the premises of the court from arrests.

The proposed law stipulates a five-year jail term for the arrest  of judicial officers, with an option of one million naira fine, and a one-year jail term, with an option of a fine, for any security officer that arrests anyone within the court premises without the permission of a judge.

“A person who arrests in court or its premises without first seeking and obtaining the permission of a judicial officer in charge of the court commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N500,000 or term of at least one-year imprisonment or both,” it stated.

The piece of legislation also prescribes a five-year jail term, with an option of one million naira for any security officer who arrests a judge within the court premises.

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It states further:  “No person shall hinder or obstruct the movement of a judicial officer or officer of court into court premises, courtroom or chambers; hinder a judicial officer or officer of court from performing his judicial, administrative or legal functions; assault a judicial officer or officer of court in the course of performing his judicial, administrative or legal functions or incites any other person so as to assault a judicial officer or officer of court or anybody assisting a judicial officer or officer of court.

“Interfere or disobey the order made by a judicial officer or officer of court performing his judicial, administrative or legal functions; or disturb or disrupt court proceedings or cause a disturbance in and around court premises.

“Any person who does any of the acts mentioned in subsection 1, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1,000,000 or a term of at least five years imprisonment or both”.

Vanguard

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.