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Election petitions: We’ll never be overwhelmed by mob – CJN says amid knocks on judiciary

The Chief Justice Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has reiterated the judiciary’s determination not to be overwhelmed by the sentiments of the “mob” in their decisions.

Many Nigerians have attacked the judiciary following the rulings on electoral matters sacking some governors and lawmakers. They accused the judiciary of being biased.

However, speaking at the opening of the special session of the 2023/2024 legal year and the swearing-in of 58 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Ariwoola asked judges to remain firm.

“I expect every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the bar, and discharge all your judicial functions with all the humility at your command.

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Even while doing this, it is still necessary to have at the back of your minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before you.

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The law remains the law, no matter whose interest is involved. In all we do, as interpreters of the law, we should endeavour to severe the strings of emotion from logic and assumption from fact. We should never be overwhelmed by the actions or loud voices of the mob or crowd and now begin to confuse law with sentiment or something else in deciding our cases.

Nevertheless, unnecessary and unwarranted utterances are bound to embarrass not only others, but the Judge himself; thus what should be asked, should be asked, and what should not be asked, should be avoided.”

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