Judges who recently gave conflicting judgements from same courts are being investigated based on petition against them, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said on Monday.
The CJN who promised that appropriate actions would be taken against them, also said that lawyers who write petitions against judges and other judicial officers directly to the President without going through the National Judicial Council would be punished by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
According to him, the constitution has clearly placed the power to exercise discretionary control over judicial officers in the NJC.
Mohammed made the clarification in Abuja on Monday, during the special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2016-2017 legal year and inauguration of 22 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that conflicting judgments were given by a Federal High Court in Abuja and another Federal High Court in Port Harcourt over internal crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party between the Ahmed Makarfi and Alli Modu Sherrif factions.
Another controversial judgement was given in Abia State PDP crisis in the alleged tax clearance certificate scandal involving Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Uche Ogah.This has however been reversed by the Court of Appeal.
The CJN stated that in line with the provisions of the constitution, the Judicial Discipline Regulations 2014 comprehensively sets out the procedure for making a complaint, without undue interference from other arms of government.
He said, “Let me state before the court stands that the case of courts of coordinate jurisdiction giving conflicting judgments will be addressed. All the judges involved are being investigated and action will be taken against them accordingly.
“It is therefore of great concern that lawyers, litigants and even members of the public route complaints against judicial officers to the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am most dismayed that legal practitioners who ought to better appreciate the need for the independence of their primary constituency would engage in this misguided practice.
“I must admit that these cases were particularly distasteful and have been marked for action against the erring counsel by the LPDC.”