By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Justice Ishaq Usman Bello, has reaffirmed that granting of ex -parte orders to stop electoral process remained barred in his jurisdiction.
Justice Bello who spoke at the inauguration of the new executive committee of the Abuja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, also known as the Unity Bar, said his jurisdiction will frown at ex-parte order from any judge.
The Chief Judge spoke after administering the oath of office on the members of the new Mrs Hauwa Shekarau-led executive committee of the Unity Bar.
Ex-parte orders are court orders issued by courts in the absence of the opposing parties in a suit.
He said the FCT High Court’s policy prohibitting the issuance of such orders in political cases in the election-related cases was to ensure a natural development of democracy in the country and to encourage politicians to settle their disputes internally without court’s intervention.
The Chief Judge said he had discussed the issue with the new EXCO earlier on Wednesday when they visited him to invite him to preside over the inauguration.
He said, “They must have observed that this jurisdiction has demonstrated a sense repose against granting ex parte injunction or any restraining order to forestall any electioneering activity.
“This should be instructive, because charity begins at home and if we can consider the bar and its organs as part of parcel of the household to which the bench belong, then we have started demonstrating our position abhoring ex parte injunction forestalling elections.
“Therefore, be wary of coming up with application when it comes to pragmatic politics because we are not going to acceed to that.
“This is because we want natural growth of democracy. We want the political actors to learn how to resolve their disputes within themselves without coming to court, except where it is exceedingly necessary.”
The Chief Judge also said he had on Tuesday signed a new practice direction to help to address forum shopping and conflicting judgments in the country’s judiciary.
He said with the new practice direction, a case could be transferred to the appropriate place of origin of the dispute leading to the case.
“We want to foreclose the window for forum shopping and conflicting decisions across the country. We want to sanitise the system.
“Cases will come to FCT High Court from Kaduna, Ondo and Anambra states where they should be heard.
“Even when they come here they start jumping from court to court when they see the hand writing on the wall.
“We have to satinise the system. The practice direction has now directed that those matters to be transferred to their place of origin even if they are part-heard.”
He charged the new executive committee (EXCO) of the Unity Bar to keep to their promise to act according to the Nigerian consitution and other laws of the land.
Two former chairmen of the Unity Bar, Mr Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN) and Joe Kyari-Gadzama, expressed joy over the emergence of the EXCO which they said had laid issues of factionalisation in the branch of the NBA to rest.
The new chairman of the NBA branch, Shekarau, in her acceptance speech, sought the cooperation of members and elders of the association while she promised to deliver on her 10-point campaign agenda, including welfare of members and mentoring for young lawyers.
Chief Judge reaffirms ban on ex- parte order in political cases in Abuja.
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja