Abuja - Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal, has warned judges against being manipulated by politicians as they handle cases in Election Petition Tribunals.
Bulkachuwa handed down the warning at a Three-day Retreat organised for Justices of the Court of Appeal and Chairmen of Election Petition Tribunals in Abuja on Tuesday.
"Tribunal judges should be seen to be impartial, independent and should not be subject to political influence or manipulation.
"Each tribunal member or staff will be closely monitored by my office and I will not hesitate to descend on any judge found wanting in the discharge of his/her duties.
"The Nigerian judiciary is now in the limelight and on trial. Let us discharge the responsibility reposed on us both individually and collectively by dispensing justice in accordance with the law.
"We should do this without fear or favour, and within the dictates of our conscience and oath of office."
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Former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umar Abdullahi, in a key note address, urged the tribunal judges to be transparent when they dispense justice.
"It is our attitude that will salvage the situation. So, we need to change our attitude," Abdullahi said.
He allayed any fears of difficulty in handling election petitions and urged them not to be frightened as such.
Justice Ishaq Bello, the Chief Judge of FCT High Court, in his remarks, urged the judges to be proactive in carrying out the task before them.
"In whatever capacity we are involved; we must know that we are ambassadors of the Nigerian judiciary," Bello said.
Mintwab Tafesse of the Democratic Governance for Development Project (UNDP) said the group renewed its partnership with the Court of Appeal to resolve election disputes.
Tafesse assured that the project would support Election Petition Tribunals on the challenges that might emanate from election petitions.
Afam Osigwe, who represented Augustine Alegeh, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), expressed optimism that the tribunals would give the judiciary the opportunity to prove that it was transparent in the dispensation of justice.
Osigwe said it was time for quick resolution of election petitions.
The retreat was organised in conjunction with the UNDP and Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) in collaboration with the Court of Appeal.