The Nigerian Law Reform Commission has backed the Supreme Court judgement quashing a 12-year jail term passed on Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Professor Jummai Audi declared to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters that the judgement of the lower court against Senator Kalu was an absurdity on account of the Justice who completed hearing and ruled on the case.
Professor Audi who made the declaration during her screening for the substantive chairmanship position of the Commission, said: “On Orji Uzor Kalu’s case, I think it is an absurdity.
The administration of criminal justice has to be amended because you cannot say that a Judge, who by law has been appointed to a higher level should step down in order to decide a case and then catapult himself up again to his normal position”.
“Since provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ACJA, relied upon for the judgement, cannot override that of the 1999 Constitution, it will have to be amended.
Virtually all the members of the committee like Senators James Manager, Peter Nwaoboshi, Chukwuka Utazi, Gabriel Suswam, and Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, supported the submission by chorusing: you are well guided”, she added.
It would be recalled that in a reaction to the Supreme Court Judgement, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay SAN, expressed his displeasure over the apex court’s judgment nullifying the trial of Kalu and others.
According to him, no section of the constitution prevented a judge, who was promoted to a higher court, from continuing to hear pending cases in the lower court.