Why JUSUN strike should be resolved now, by Babalola
• Accuses executive, the legislature of aiding nation’s collapse
• Craves appointment of SAN’s as judges
Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has accused the executive and legislative arms of government of aiding the collapse of the country by not resolving the issue of autonomy of the judiciary to allow courts to reopen.
The eminent jurist said: “Since I started practice in the early 1960s, I have never witnessed the closure of all the courts, even for one day. As a result of the closure, the police are paralysed because they have not been able to charge any suspected criminal to court. Those who have cases in courts or those who want to file new cases are also affected. Of course, you can imagine the effects on the income of lawyers.”
Babalola made the comments at the weekend in Ado Ekiti at the launch of a book titled “Testament of Judicial Pronouncement” in honour of Justice Ayodeji Simeon Daramola, the retiring Chief Judge of Ekiti State.
The legal icon likened the crisis in the judiciary to a human being whose ability to work depends on the arm, legs and eyes.
“If for any reason any of these three important parts of the human body is incapacitated, then the whole body is in trouble. With this scenario, Nigeria is certainly in crisis.
“The executive and the legislature should immediately ensure that the situation in the judiciary is immediately resolved, or else, they are by their action, aiding the collapse of the country.”
On appointment to the Bench, Babalola said that the quality of the judiciary depended on the brilliance of the lawyers appearing before the courts, noting that in the past, appointments to the Bench were by invitation only, based on the competence and integrity of the lawyers appearing before the courts.
“It has been acknowledged that the best judges are the seasoned, tested and competent legal practitioners. It was an abomination to invite applications for the post of judge.
“In England, seasoned Queen’s counsel, the equivalent of our senior advocates, are invited to the Bench. Unlike what obtained in the 60s and 70s when we had a few senior lawyers, Nigeria can now boast of hundreds of seasoned senior advocates today.
“I, therefore, suggest that we borrow a leaf from England by inviting eminent senior advocates to the Bench at High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court levels to improve the quality of the judges in our courts.
“After all, the late Hon. Justice Taslim Olawale Elias (SAN), the late Hon. Justice Augustine Nnamani (SAN), and until recently, Hon Justice Safiya Babamasi Umar (SAN) are examples per excellence of what to expect when we appoint seasoned senior advocates to the Bench,” the popular lawyer said.