A civil rights group, the Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), has asked for full media coverage of court sessions to enhance the integrity of the judiciary.
CASER’s executive director, Frank Tietie, made the request in response to the recent arrest of judges by operatives of the State Security Service, SSS.
Mr. Tietie said his group had made the request before and was repeating to emphasise its point that the public needs to participate more in judicial proceedings as a way of canvassing the support of Nigerians for the judiciary.
“The Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) has again, written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria urging him to approve live media broadcast of court proceedings in Nigeria. CASER believes that where greater access is given to the citizenry to observe the justice delivery process, such would greatly enhance the integrity of the judiciary,” the group said in a statement.
“CASER totally maintains its profound respect for the Nigerian Judiciary and consequently condemns all attempts by overzealous elements of government to reduce the sacrosanctity of the Courts and the general reverence for the person of the Nigerian judge.
“CASER commends the National Judicial Council (NJC) for its commitment to preserving the integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary. To this end, CASER has passed a Vote of Confidence on the NJC for its performance so far,” the statement said.
The group said the judiciary remains the hope of Nigerians whose rights he alleges to “have been historically and constantly trampled upon by the operators of the executive and legislative arms of government in Nigeria”.
“CASER encourages all Nigerian citizens to respect the laws of Nigeria and continue to venerate the Nigerian judiciary for the many brilliant judicial landmarks it has established in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. CASER shall stand by the Nigerian judiciary in the firm conviction that it holds the key to the positive social change that is desperately needed to improve the living standards of Nigerian citizens, through the observation and enforcement of social and economic rights as guaranteed under the United Nations system.
“Therefore, CASER urges all Nigerian judges not to be intimidated but to strive to continue their good work without succumbing to fear or graft, knowing that the larger Nigerian public still rests it hope on them to preserve the polity from the devious contraptions and corrupt chicaneries of the Nigerian political class.
“However, CASER would not relent in its quest to ensure that the proceedings of all courts in Nigeria are allowed to be broadcast live by any Nigerian citizen or media company. CASER believes that is a fundamental human right under Section 36 (3) & (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria which provides the grounds for the live media coverage and broadcast of court proceedings in Nigeria,” the statement said.