The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has said the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) does not have the moral right to be the watchdog over the judiciary in respect of the pending Election Petitions.
In a lengthy post via his verified Twitter handle on Monday, Keyamo said the NLC cannot be watching over the judiciary because its members are active politicians and supporters of a known political party.
Recall that the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, had on Sunday night said that organized labour and civil society would create a “hall of shame” for judges that compromise election tribunals.
But according to Keyamo, the only constitutional watchdog over the judiciary and judicial officers is the National Judicial Council (NJC) and not the NLC, adding that the comment is an attempt to intimidate and threaten the judiciary.
He stressed that Ajaero’s comment negates the very foundation of one of the principles of natural justice for a party to a case or its supporters to say they are constituting themselves as ‘watchdogs’ over the judiciary.
Part of the post reads: “Some partisan clowns gathered together and declared that they have constituted themselves as ‘watchdogs over the judiciary in respect of the pending Election Petitions. They have warned of dire consequences if ‘justice’ is not done in the Petitions. Meanwhile, they are members and supporters of a known political party.
“The ONLY constitutional watchdog over the judiciary and judicial officers is the National Judicial Council. It negates the very foundation of one of the principles of natural justice for a party to a case or its sympathisers and/or supporters to say they are constituting themselves as ‘watchdogs’ over the umpire (the judiciary) which is to decide case(s) in which they have an interest. ()
“That principle of natural justice is nemo judex in causa sua – no person can be a judge in a case in which they have an interest. It doesn’t matter that they are not sitting as actual judges themselves; it only matters that they have a fixed notion of what the ‘justice’ in those cases should be and are attempting to browbeat the judiciary to navigate those cases using their own narrow compass. They think ‘justice’ is what the mob says it is. Very sad.”
Keyamo asserted that the NLC officials and civil society members who have no legal knowledge or experience from legal practice are the ones planning to be ‘watchdogs’ over the judiciary.
He said the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should caution lawyers not to be allowed to be used against the judiciary, accusing the NLC of displaying buffoonery, effrontery, insolence, and arrogance towards the judiciary with the comment.
He added: “This move smacks of brazen intimidation and threat to our judiciary. Even the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) (the umbrella body for all lawyers) has not displayed such buffoonery, effrontery, insolence, and arrogance towards our judiciary. There are settled principles of law that no e-thuggery or thuggery, e-intimidation or intimidation, and e-nuisance or nuisance will change.
“The most disgusting part of this nonsense is that people who have no scintilla of legal knowledge or experience from legal practice are the ones at the forefront of this so-called comical attempt to be ‘watchdogs’ over the judiciary. It’s like a labourer wanting to superintend over the work of a trained and experienced engineer on site.
“The Nigeria Bar Association must not bow to these cheap tactics and must issue a strong warning to its members not to be seen amongst these jesters or else appropriate sanctions should be meted out on them.”