Wednesday, 19th January 2022
Breaking News:

Ahamba seeks probe into two-year adjournment of Gwandu Emirate case

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
04 January 2022   |   2:47 am
Chief Mike Ahamba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called for a probe into the Supreme Court’s two-year adjournment in an appeal filed against the reinstatement of Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo

Senior lawyers canvass the creation of regional supreme courts

Chief Mike Ahamba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called for a probe into the Supreme Court’s two-year adjournment in an appeal filed against the reinstatement of Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo as the Emir of Gwandu.

The apex court had on November 29, 2021, adjourned a hearing in three appeals challenging the five-year-old order of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which reinstated Jokolo as the 19th Emir of Gwandu, for two years.

Reinstated Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo.

On the panel that ordered the two-year adjournment were Justices Olukayode Ariwoola (presiding), Amina Augie, John Inyang Okoro, Abdu Aboki and Emmanuel Agim.

Reacting to the perceived prolonged adjournment, Ahamba urged the bar to convene a discussion on the issue and investigate reasons behind the delay in dispensing justice, particularly at the Supreme Court.

He said: “The Supreme Court is congested with appeals, but one has to investigate the cause of such a long adjournment. We must find out why it is so. I hope the bar will soon call for a discussion on the issue.”

On his part, Abuja-based lawyer, Innocent Daagba, canvassed a creation of regional supreme courts to help decongest the existing Supreme Court.

He blamed the country’s procedural law and court system for the delay in justice dispensation and suggested that if the Supreme Court is unbundled into regional divisions, cases involving land disputes and chieftaincy matters would terminate at the regional supreme courts, thereby reducing appeals and workload at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“To ensure quick dispensation of justice, we must create regional supreme courts and give them the power to terminate certain proceedings there.”

Another SAN, Ishaka Dikko, also admitted that justice delivery in the country was characterised by incessant delays due to the psyche of Nigerians, the structure of the Constitution, as well as the way law, is practised in Nigeria.

He said: “Quick dispensation of justice will remain a mirage in Nigeria until our constitutional structure is changed, the psyche of Nigerians changed and lawyers also change the way they practise law in Nigeria.”

The protracted Gwandu Emirate tussle began in 2005, but the November 29, 2021 adjournment by the apex court in deference of a fresh appeal filed by one of the appellants at a lower court was described by many as unusual.

The sitting was for hearing on a motion for substitution of the names of deceased kingmakers in the three appeals marked SC2/2013 (Attorney-General of Kebbi State and others against Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo); SC314/2016 (Alhaji Muhammadu Iliyasu Bashar against Alhaji Mustapha Haruna Jokolo & anor) and SC266/2017(Governor of Kebbi State and others against Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo. The briefs for the appeals were filed in 2019 and consolidated.

Jokolo was deposed in 2005 and he went to court to challenge his dethronement.
In 2014, a Kebbi State High Court ordered his immediate reinstatement for being illegally deposed.

The presiding judge, Justice Abbas Ahman then, held that the deposition was contrary to law and due process not followed.

Not satisfied with the judgment, Kebbi State Government and Jokolo’s successor challenged the decision of Kebbi High Court.

In April 2016, the appellate court ruled that the 2005 deposition of the Emir contravened sections of the Chief Appointment and Deposition Law of the State as the Governor neither made an inquiry into the allegation against the Emir nor consulted the Kebbi Council of Chiefs before arriving at his decision.

The Kebbi government and Jokolo’s successor consequently approached the Supreme Court to review the verdicts of the two lower courts. The matter was adjourned till November 2023.

In this article