The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, and other judicial officers have been criticised for attending a private dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
A human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong said that the act contravened the Code of Conduct for judicial officers.
Inibehe also said it is not morally right for President Muhammadu Buhari to host judges and judicial officers when an election petition is still pending against him.
According to Punch, the lawyer noted that Rule 1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016 states that judges must avoid gatherings that could appear to members of the public that they have been compromised.
“Rule 1.4 states: The Judge must be sensitive to the need to avoid contacts that may lead people to speculate that there is a special relationship between him and someone whom the judge may be tempted to favour in some way in the course of his judicial duties.
“1.5 states: A judicial officer must avoid social relationships that are improper or may give rise to an appearance of impropriety or that may cast doubt on the ability of a judicial officer to decide cases impartially,” he said.
The lawyer added that any judge invited to a gathering should ask him or herself ‘’how it’ll look in the eyes of the public.”
“It is in Nigeria that intellectuals defend the madness and impropriety of politicians with so much passion.
“When you have the head of the judicial arm, dining with a President who has publicly asserted his disdain for the rule of law, a President who has a petition challenging his election before the courts, at a time that the judiciary is plagued by a crisis of confidence, and you still come here and insult me over my harmless observation, is there hope for the future of Nigeria?
Meanwhile, the absence of counsel has stalled the hearing in alleged age falsification suit against the CJN.
Justice Danlami Senchi of an Abuja High Court, Jabi, has therefore fixed May 31 for ruling and possible judgment in the age falsification suit filed against Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN).