A civil society group, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), has suggested to United States and United Kingdoms to extend its visa restriction to judicial officials, particularly those who used their offices to allegedly undermine democracy.
The group specifically mentioned Justices of the Supreme Court who were involved in the Imo State governorship case and their family members, asking that they should be placed on visa restriction to serve as deterrence to others.
The group, in a letter to US Embassy in Abuja, believe that such action would give an indication that US, UK and other developed countries would not support the judiciary or any arm of government that promotes impunity.
The letter, jointly signed by the group leaders, Ariyo Dare-Atoye, Deji Adeyanju and Adebayo Raphael, also asked US and UK to push for a reversal of the Imo judgement, and that the judiciary should stop interfering in the democratic process with unsound and unpopular judgements.
The group, however expressed fears that the trust, belief and confidence of Nigerians in democracy were fast being eroded by the recent actions of the judiciary.
It also noted: “Our fear is that democracy may no longer be the same again in Nigeria with the conflicting judgements coming out of the Supreme Court. Going forward, politicians would exploit the Imo state scenario to the fullest and use it to undermine elections and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) except the Supreme Court quickly reverses itself based on popular demand, national interest, national security, and judicial doctrine of necessity.
“Also, the trust of the people in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man has also been dashed. And Nigerians no longer have confidence in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
The group also observed that “for the first time in our country, Nigeria was confronted with a grim situation where the total number of votes cast in an election was higher than the total number of accredited voters as was validated by the Supreme Court.
“We are also confronted with another dangerous scenario where, for the first time at the level of the judiciary, the Supreme Court validated and created a precarious development in which the police can now function as an alternative to INEC, since the testimony of a police officer led to the validation of an alleged exclusion of results.”