By Prince Fater Audu
As the doors of Nigerian courtrooms continue to usher in matters, the concern of eye brows getting raised as regards the verdicts delivered by these law courts in recent years has become a recurrent issue visible to every eye that cares. From all indications, this mosaic of rising concerns is a manifestation of the backlog of mistrust hat has been brewing in the minds of Nigerians over the years as a result of several scenes of perceived injustices emanating from the judiciary. In spite of the fact that these vents portrays the disposition of the masses towards the activities of the judiciary, it is only fair that these opinions be colligated to the solid understanding of how the courts arrive at their decisions. Sadly, some of these accusing fingers pointed at judicial officers are based on sheer personal sentiments devoid of tangible legal backing.
These litanies based on personal sentiments and political jingoism have continued to span the country across several media platforms, heating up the polity and waging a war of attrition on the repute of the judiciary, with every verdict leaving a fresh dent. Whilst it is imperative that justice must be done and be seen to be done, the court must not be bullied to structuring its verdict to reflect the popular sentiment of the public, without due regard to the imperative of striking the balance on the scale of justice. The comments trailing the recent decisions in the gubernatorial matter in Kano state and the presidential election petition matter some weeks ago, are just but a few of such recent court verdicts that have come under scathing criticisms for failing to align with the demand of popular public opinion, to the utter disregard of the learned reasoning adopted by the courts to reach them.
It is pertinent to understand that the proof of facts is the underlying principle upon which the courts recline to fashion opinions and consequently arrive at its decisions. Hence, the failure to proof facts to the tone of the standard required in a special matter so behoves on the court to reach a decision leaning on the argument seen to have shown a more preponderant weight of evidence to back its stance. This is the reasoning that sets the wisdom applied in reaching decisions in the court apart from the rubrics informing the conception of justice by the public. The conjunctive interpretation of the law with the peculiarities of each matter is also shaped and refined by the grounds upon which the matter is brought before the court. The rigour of these judicial principle is encapsulated and summarised in the Roman Maxim dura lex sed lex meaning the law is harsh, but it is the law.
Notwithstanding, the judiciary being the last hope of the common man has a moral duty to carry out its function in such a way that the confidence reposed in it by the public will not be questioned. In other words, the judicial officers should desist from creating impressions capable of casting shadows of doubt on their credibility, i.e. rubbing shoulders with political personalities and their affiliates. In order to guarantee this imperative and foster public trust, the judiciary is implored to be transparently clear in the performance of its duties, so as to avoid jogging suspicion in the minds of the populace.
Prince Fater Audu is a final year law student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Comments and criticisms can be addressed to him via his email address at email@example.com.
The post Justice Skinned To Bones And Facts: The Wisdom Of The Law Court Is Not The Lingo Of Public Opinion. appeared first on TheNigeriaLawyer.
By Prince Fater Audu