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Group berates judge for granting order proscribing Shi’ite



A judiciary watchdog , Access to Justice, has faulted the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria by the Federal High Court in Abuja .
Following an ex parte application by the Federal Government, Justice Nkeonye Maha declared the IMN a terrorist group and proscribed it as prayed by the government .
But A 2 J, in a statement on Sunday by its Convener, Joseph Otteh , described the court ’ s pronouncement as “ unconstitutional and deeply unfortunate . ”
The group said it was dismayed that Justice Maha would grant such an order in a way that sacrificed the rights of the IMN adherents, popularly known as Shi ’ ites , to present their side of the story.
Describing the court ’ s approach as flawed , A2 J said Justice Maha ’ s final decision betrayed the long - standing judicial practice of not deciding a case based on a one - sided account
The group said said , “ A legitimate judicial process takes account of , and hears the cases and defences of everyone accused of misconduct and /or whose interests would be affected by a court decision and orders . To that extent, Justice Maha ’ s ruling is strongly objectionable . It did not follow nor respect basic constitutional standards applicable to a judicial proceeding , but disavowed inexplicably and without justification .
“ In a democracy , legislations must pass the tests of constitutionality to be enforceable by a court . The court ought to have satisfied itself that the legislation under which it acted , which so gravely imperils the fundamental rights of citizens to assemble and move freely , champion their causes and practice their religion, passes constitutional muster . It did not do so , unfortunately. ”


A2 J said Justice Maha ’ s orders were tantamount to condemning and criminalising the IMN without affording the Shi ’ ites “ the basic right to even challenge how the federal government – which has persecuted them over a long period and extrajudicially killed hundreds of their members – characterised them. ”
It added , “ Many Nigerians are expressing growing concern that our courts , in a period when they ought to stand resolute as bulwarks of constitutional freedoms, are drawing a blank at critical moments , and giving the raw might of executive power unrestrained leeway over the rights of citizens . It probably bears repeating that when a judiciary fails to step up to the plate and safeguard the rights of individuals or groups when threatened , including those who suffer political persecution because of their beliefs or their unpopularity , democracy fails, and then the people are effectively silenced and unable to hold power to any form of accountability.

“ Justice Maha ’ s decision has done far -reaching damage, at least now, to the rights of a group and its members to defend their rights peacefully and legitimately . The court has criminalized them by the stroke of a pen, labelling them as terrorists and exposing them to further risks of criminal jeopardy. It is a hugely unfair and inequitable thing for a court of justice or of law , to do . ”
Group berates judge for granting order proscribing Shi’ite Group berates judge for granting order proscribing Shi’ite Reviewed by Toba Adedeji on 09:23 Rating: 5

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