Some legal practitioners in Ondo State have given pass marks to President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the area of judiciary.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Akure, Mr Moradele Oke said that Nigerians especially stakeholders in judiciary, should be fair to the Buhari-led government for its performance in the sector.
Oke, who said that Nigerian democratic dispensation was still a process with an infusion of certain eccentric elements into the system, said that the outgoing administration should be given a pass mark.
“ I’m giving a pass mark because we can say that to some extent the rule of law is given priority except in one to two issues which people may quickly jump at.
“There is no saint anywhere but we can say that President Buhari has reasonably performed well in the sector.
“ Our judicial process has progressed in term of dispensing rule of law and justice.
“For some years, we have not seen petitions flying around concerning judicial officers for corrupt practices,” he stated.
The legal practitioner added that there was unalloyed judicial process on election matters without fear and partiality.
“The country is actually progressing in the sector,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Segun Ogodo, a senior lawyer, said that the outgoing administration had done relatively well in the sector but said there must reorganizations in some areas of the sector.
“ There is need to do some reorganizations. The Supreme Court is overburdened. In fact, I sympathize with justices there. Something should be done to ameliorate the suffering there.
“ Whatever they determine there is the final. Therefore, the workload should be addressed,” he said.
Ogodo, a senior lawyer, said that in the area of obeying courts’ by the government, the Buhari-led administration had done well.
“ He( Buhari) has done his best but like I said the incoming administration must do something to make the work of the Supreme Court easy.
“ They can do it by decentralizing the Supreme Court. They can be in the six geo-political zones so that this will reduce the workload and they will still be Supreme Court,” he said.
Also, Mr Abdulsalam Musa, a lawyer, stated that the Buhari-led government deserved some accolades in the judiciary.
Musa said that there was independence of the judiciary during the administration, adding that there was no interference of the presidency in judicial matters.
According to him, only a few cases of flaunting court orders are recorded by the administration through Attorney General Office.
“ They allowed judicial process and rule of law to take their place except only in few cases.
“ We have seen when the Supreme Court ordered that the old naira notes should run concurrently with the new naira notes but the order was not adhered to on time.
“ If I should give the outgoing president pass mark, I will give him 60 marks out of 100 marks ,” he said.
Musa asked the incoming administration to ensure that rule of law was followed strictly, adding that rule of law was sacrosanct.
According to him, there should be independence of the judiciary, fair hearing to all and sundry and courts’ orders irrespective of the court should be obeyed by all including the government.
The legal practitioner said that this would bring smooth running of the legal process and there would be no violation of the rule of law.
However, the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA) in Ondo State, Mr Olumide Ogidan, said that the administration fell short of stakeholders’ expectations in the sector.
“ The president refused to confirm the appointment of Justice Walter Onoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria until he went on medical leave and was thereafter confirmed by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo while in an acting capacity.
“Also, the clampdown on some justices by DSS operatives also gave a dent in the image of the administration.
“ The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onoghen was prosecuted before the Code of Conduct Bureau and disgraced out of office.
“The Hon. Attorney General and the Minister for Justice is in the habit of flouting Court Orders. The Government of Nigeria has not obeyed any court order granted by the court throughout the administration,” he said.
He said that Buhari just this week forwarded a bill to the National Assembly for the approval of monies running into billions for the settlement of judgment debts, saying the move ought to have been taken long time ago.
Ogidan said that it was apparent that the administration performed dismally in the area of judiciary.
“At a time, the president in the gathering of lawyers in one of the NBA Conferences stated that the issue of security is of greater importance than the issue of Rule of Law.
“On the issue of corruption cases, not much has been achieved. Corruption in this administration is worse than that of previous administrations,” he said.