I can’t be intimidated, says judge



Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday told counsel to Ecobank that he cannot be intimidated nor influenced in the discharge of his judicial duties.

Justice Idris said this when the matter between Honeywell and Ecobank came up for trial before his court.

Prior to Justice Idris’ comments, Ecobank had applied to the Chief Judge, Ibrahim Auta, praying that the matter be transferred to another judge.

Counsel to the Bank, Kunle Ogunba (SAN) echoed the same position in the court, asking the judge to either recuse himself from adjudicating on the matter or await the decision of the Chief Judge in respect of Ecobank’s petition against Justice Idris.

Meanwhile a correspondent of the Nation newspaper, Joseph Jibueze had written a story on Tuesday based on the contents of the petition. Offended by the story, counsel to Honeywell, Bode Olanipekun asked the judge to order the journalist into the dock to explain how he came about the story.

Olanipekun said: “I refer to the National Judicial Council (NJC) policy on complaints against judicial officers. Section 2.2 (4) to section 2.2 (9) bars any party from leaking any allegation of judicial misconduct against any judge in the press. May I apply that Mr Jibueze comes into the dock to tell the court how he came about the story. Let him tell us the origin and how he came to know about it.”

Ogunba objected and described the application as “bizarre”. He said: “This application is shocking. Mr Jibueze is not a party to this suit. On what basis will he enter the dock? Olanipekun has not cited any rule of procedure that allows that. Mr Jibueze did not report what was not in existence. I urge my Lord to discountenance my learned friend’s application.”

In response, Justice Idris said: “I urge counsel to leave Mr Jibueze out of it and go to the substance. We’ll leave the press out of it. They’re doing their work.”

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