The Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) has supported Supreme Court judgement quashing 12-year jail term slammed on Senator Orji Uzor Kalu by Justice Mohammed Idris on December 5, 2019, describing it as the right way to go.
Professor Jumai Audi, who stated this recently during her screening for the NLRC Chairmanship position, maintained that the Orji Uzor Kalu case was an absurdity.
She told the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters that the judgement against Kalu was an absurdity on account of the justice who completed hearing and ruled on the case.
“The administration of criminal justice has to be amended, because you cannot say that a judge, who by law has been appointed to a higher level, should step down in order to decide a case and then catapults himself up again to his normal position.
“We can read a lot of intention to that which is unconstitutional, undemocratic and unacceptable and because it is not acceptable, the decision taken by that arrangement cannot stand,” she stated.
She added that since provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), relied upon for the judgement could not override that of the 1999 Constitution, it had to be amended.
During the screening, members of the committee: James Manager (PDP Delta South), Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North), Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North), Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East ) and Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia (APC Jigawa North), supported the submission by chorusing, “you are well guided.”
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, had berated the Supreme Court’s judgment nullifying Kalu’s trial and others, saying, “No section of the constitution prevented a judge, who was promoted to a higher court, from continuing to hear pending cases in the lower court.
“But if the National Assembly passes a law that grants authority to that judge, then the Supreme Court does not have the powers to insist on its own interpretation by referring to the constitution, which has no such provisions.”