Supreme Court laments workload, adjourns Atuche appeal for one year


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A five-man panel of the Supreme Court on Thursday lamented over the huge workload the Justices of the court were grappling with. 

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As a result of the congestion in the apex court’s docket, the Justice Tanko Muhmmad-led panel on Thursday adjourned an appeal involving a former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank) until March 1, 2018, resulting into exactly one year interval. 

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Expressing regret for the long adjournment, Justice Muhammad explained that the Supreme Court only entertained criminal cases on Thursdays, but unfortunately all Thursdays from then till February next year were already filled up with appeals. .

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Justice Muhammad said the apex court’s docket was so overloaded that the court was just hearing appeals filed in 2004. He said due to the lingering problem in the Supreme Court, the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed had to dedicate Wednesdays which used to be free days for the Justices, for hearing of pre-election cases.

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He said, “We used to hear three appeals on Thursdays but now six and up till March 2018 there is no free Thursdays. This court never sat on Wednesdays but since the time of Justice Mahmud Mohammed (retd.) we introduced pre-election matters on Wednesdays. 

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We now sit on all Wednesdays except yesterday when we could not sit because of the Senate’ confirmation of Justice Onnoghen as CJN. So you can see that we are really in trouble.” 

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Another member of the panel, Justice Kumai Akaahs, blamed the problem on lawyers who unnecessarily split appeals into splinters on getting to the Supreme Court. He said, “We have noticed the trend of splitting appeals into small appeals. The bar should really address the issue. We are seeing this amazing practice and it is not healthy at all.” Crdt: Punchng 

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