The National Judicial Council has barred the writing or publishing of books in honour of serving judges. The council decided that any book presentation that is intended to honour any sitting judge should wait until the said judge’s retirement.
This decision was made at the NJC’s quaterly meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, May 20 and Thursday, May 21, 2015. The decision which was unanimous came arising from fears that such book presentation usually attracted contributions from politicians and (potential) litigants whose cases would/might appear before the such judges.
According to reports by the Punch newspaper, the issue was brought before the Chief Judge of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed in reference to a feature story in the May 18, 2015 publication of the newspaper titled ‘Donations in honour of judges raise ethical questions’.
The publication revealed that an N8 million donation had been made towards a books titled “Encyclopedia of Civil Procedure and Practices of Superor Courts” by the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion.
The book was written in honour of Justice Liman, the presiding judge in a matter involving two of the Esama’s children, former governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State and Micheal Igbinedion, and others for stealing money from the state’s treasury to the tune of N25 billion.
The book was presented on April 30, 2015, the day Justice Liman sentenced Micheal Igbinedion to what Nigerians later referred to as a mere six year jail term with an option of a N3 million fine while his co-conspirator who he as accused to have connived with, got a 20 year jail term without an option of fine.
The disparity in both sentences for the same offence left the public shell shocked to say the least. A source of Punch newspapers said, this was what caused the NJC to take the decision and that the council was not happy with it.
The source said “The NJC has said that such honour should be reserved for retired judges”.