Lafia - Justice Suleiman Dikko, the chief judge of Nasarawa State, has threatened to sanction any magistrate or judge of lower court, who presided over cases bordering on capital offence, in his or her court.
Dikko gave the warning in Lafia prisons on Tuesday, at the commencement of his working tour of prisons across the state.
He said the warning followed his discovery in the course of his tour, that some magistrates and judges of lower court had delivered verdicts in some cases they lacked jurisdiction to handle.
He stressed that in spite of his efforts to ensure strict adherence to the rules governing the legal profession, "some unpatriotic judicial staff still engage in some unwholesome practise."
"We are taking records of judges of lower courts who preside over robbery and cases of culpable homicide.
"After due investigations, we would forward the matter to the Nigeria Judicial Commission for disciplinary action .
"We would not take it lightly with anybody that knows his duty, but decides for whatever motives, to do the contrary," he warned.
He assured those kept in prison for allegedly committing capital offences, but were still awaiting trial, that he would investigate their matter and transfer same to high courts that had jurisdiction to handle such cases.
Dikko said that his tour of prisons and the release of some inmates sentenced to jail by judges who lacked jurisdiction , were in line with his determination to sanitise the judicial system and de-congest the prisons.
He urged the staff of the judiciary, to rise up to their responsibilities and cooperate with him to reposition the state judicial system for quality service delivery.
Responding, Patrick Epu, the Zonal Chief Magistrate of Lafia, said he had also urged judges of lower courts under his zone, not to accept such cases.
“We are monitoring to ensure compliance with the directives of the Chief Judge and any one found culpable, would be punished,” he said.
Ekpu however told the Chief Judge that all the capital offence cases still pending in lower courts, were those that had been there before the directive.