*Says It Is Embarrassing That Court Staff Always Make Reference To Directives They Can’t Produce To Lawyers
An Abuja-based human rights Lawyer, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, has written the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Justice Salisu Garba, calling for publication of circulars and notices.
In a letter dated 9th July sighted by TheNigeriaLawyer, Jimoh said it is embarrassing that court staff will always tell lawyers about the existence of some circulars and directives but will fail to produce same upon demand
Read the full letter below
9th July, 2021.
The Honourable, the Chief Judge,
High Court of the Federal Capital Territory- Abuja,
APPEAL FOR PUBLICATION OF ALL CIRCULARS, DIRECTIVES, ETC. HAVING EFFECTS ON LAWYERS, LITIGANTS AND OTHER COURT USERS IN CONSPICUOUS PARTS OF THE COURTS FOR PUBLIC’S NOTICES AND OR AWARENESS
- The above subject matter refers My Lord.
- My Lord, I have observed for quite a while and it has become the current trend, with due respect My Lord, that some courts’ officials, registrars and the officials in the enforcement unit/department of this Honourable court have constituted themselves into making oral/verbal and unverifiable declarations about the existence of some circulars or directives, etc. having emanated from authorities from above (referring to Your Lordship), whereas and very surprisingly, they themselves who inform about these circulars or directives, etc., confess and or admit not to have access to any of such or being in possession of same! My Lord, this current trend (which to me is very disappointing and a great shock) has necessitated this appeal to Your Lordship for the publication of all circulars, directives, etc., which have effects on lawyers, litigants and other court users in conspicuous parts of the courts for public notices.
- My Lord, respectfully, it is my humble legal submission that Nigeria operates ‘democracy’ and not ‘authoritarian system of government’ and one cardinal principle of democracy is ‘written law’ and ‘rule of law’ which Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) has reechoed and reaffirmed. Therefore My Lord, I humbly submit that every circular or directive issued by the court administratively having effects on lawyers, litigants (as well as court users or any other court user) has and should be published to the notices of those affected persons in conspicuous places in the courts’ premises. For instance My Lord, it is worst in scenario that the Enforcement Unit/Department of this Honourable Court is now (as I have observed for quite a while) used to informing lawyers and litigants of circulars or directives having effects on those lawyers and or litigants purportedly emanating from a higher authority which they themselves (the officials of the enforcement unit/department) do not even possess or have access to! For instance My Lord, one of such instances being complained about by this letter: the enforcement unit/department of this Honurable Court has informed me few days ago at the time I had inquired about enforcing the judgment held in favour of my client that ‘there is a circular or directive issued by Your Lordship that henceforth, certificate of judgment must be served on the judgment debtor before executing same by the judgment creditor’. I was also informed in the same enforcement process (which is being delayed by this purported unverifiable report of the enforcement unit/department) by a registrar of the court which gave the judgment that ‘she was informed by a staff of her court that there is a circular or directive emanating from Your Lordship that ‘no judgment can be executed by attachment until after one month has expired since the judgment was delivered’. Very surprisingly My Lord, when I enquired from both the enforcement unit/department and this registrar for a copy of the purported circular/directive being relied upon, I was informed ‘though I do not have a copy and I have not seen any one copy of such circular/directive’, while the enforcement unit only directed me to the director of enforcement who is hardly available in the office (on more than two or three occasions on different days that I had visited his office as I was informed by his secretary) to verify this fact from! I, respectfully, do not believe that any of these circulars/directives exist in real sense or actually emanated to the legal knowledge of Your Lordship! This is also because, such circulars/directive) if actually exist) would respectfully serve as a ‘clog’ in the cause of administration of justice and prejudice the just interest of the judgment creditor, who would now be at the mercy of the judgment debtor who is now smiling and enjoying his day! No doubt, the judgment debtor would ‘evade service’ of such certificate of judgment knowing the effect of being served which has to be done by ‘personal service’. A thought/requisition in my mind is that ‘what happens where the judgment debtor evades and or continues to evade service of the certificate of judgment on him) and the court is functus officio and no interlocutory applications can be brought to court for any leave of court?!’ Does that mean that the Judgment creditor must continue to pursue him with the certificate of judgment?! Will that not warrant jungle justice?!
- finally, I therefore, humbly appeal to Your Lordship to intervene and direct the enforcement unit/department to depart from this undemocratic conducts postulating a utilitarian system of operation rather than a democratic system of government that mandates a written law and administrative rules to the notice of the public and especially those affected by the said rules or circulars or directives, etc. I also appeal that Your Lordship call for a review of all extant circulars and administrative directive having effects on the public (which have continued to be a one man rule) to be brought to Your Lordship for necessary review action and publication of same to the public.
- While I am hopeful that Your Lordship would consider my appeal favourably as My Lord would always do, I humbly extend my warm professional regards to My Lord!
Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
Sole Practitioner/Principal Counsel.
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