Danbaba Petitions Against Shariah Judge in Sokoto

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Hassan Ahmed Danbaba has petitioned the Grand Khadi of Sokoto State against a Judge of Upper Shariah Court 1 Sokoto for alleged violation of his oath of office by acting in a biased and prejudicial manner against him.

The Solicitors in their petition dated March 24, 2017, said their client was wrongfully served in respect of criminal charge between Inuwa Abdulkapir V Hassan Ahmed Danbaba in case No CR/134/17.

The petitioner said, “We are Solicitors to Hassan Ahmed Danbaba the accused person in the above charge and we have his instructions to Petition your good office with regards to the above judge having violated his oath of office by acting in a biased and prejudicial manner against our Client.

“Sir, our Client was wrongfully served a criminal summons through proxy to appear before the above court to answer to some allegations leveled against him by the Complainant. He was served and given two days to appear before the court.

“Upon the receipt of the said summons, we filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the proprietary of the summons as a gross violation of section 36(6)(b) of the 1999 CFRN as amended which provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and that since the accused was not even served personally, the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that the court should in that circumstances strike out the case.

“Sir, we were in court on the 16th day of March 2017 to argue our Preliminary Objection having filed and served the Complainant .On that day, neither the Complainant nor his Solicitor was in court and the Senior Judge who came in at 10.am told us that his colleague that will preside over our case sent words to him that he will not be sitting and as such we should take a date. Upon telling the court that we came in from outside jurisdiction, one of the registrars of the court was called upon to give us date and we took 30th of March 2017 as the next adjourned date. This is in the records of the Court.”

They said “Upon our Client’s instructions, we filed a Notice of Appeal in the Criminal Appeal Section of the High Court of Justice Sokoto to further challenge certain act of gross irregularities of the lower court and we joined the court as 2nd Respondent, and all the Respondents were subsequently served.

“On the 22nd of March 2017, we further filed a Stay of Proceedings in the lower court pending appeal which was also served on all parties and the return date for the arguments on all pending applications was the 30th day of March 2017, but to our greatest surprise, we were told by a colleague that the case was retrospectively backdated from the return date of 30th March to 24th March 2017 without any service on us or our client. It would interest you sir, that we have an address for service in Sokoto which is engrained on all our processes before the court.”

The petition said, “Without fair hearing the Court sat and the Judge out of manifest bias issued a bench warrant against our client when the judge knew that there were pending applications challenging his jurisdiction and that a date was already given by the court for all parties to appear. Sir, you will agree with us that the judge acted with a partial and prejudiced perspectives by refusing to consider the merits of the cause before him.”

According to the solicitor, “It is trite in law that fair hearing under natural justice is an issue which clearly is at the threshold of our legal system. Once there has been a denial of fair hearing as guaranteed by the constitution, the whole proceedings automatically becomes vitiated.

“We refer Your Lordship to the case of JEREMIAH AKOH AND ORS VAMEH ABUH (1988) 3 NWLR (pt.85) 696″ at 71. Sir, in the instant case the judge has shown extreme and manifest bias and does not have the temperament and right disposition to be a judge. He should clearly be sacked as his action is nothing but judicial brigandage against our client. His issuance of a bench warrant is at variance with the rule that a man cannot incur the loss of liberty untill he has had a fair opportunity of answering the case against him. Sir, the Supreme Court in the case of ADIGUN V AG OF OYO STATE AND 18 ORS (1987) 3 SCNJ 118 SAID; The appellants do not have to show injury or prejudice. It is implicit in the very act of denial because denial is an injury to the right of fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution

“In view of the above facts, our Client do not have confidence in the entire Shariah court system of Sokoto state because of the above strong elements of bias. We all know sir, that the true test of bias is the impression it creates on a reasonable man and all reasonable men will agree that the entire Shariah court system is tainted with bias and that our client shall by this letter copy the Chief Justice of the Federation to decide on the next line of affairs.

“Furthermore, our client is demanding that the said judge should be probed and consequently dismissed from service because he is unfit to sit in judgement over others. If we are unable to receive any favourable response, we shall be force to petition the entire Shariah court system in Sokoto state to the appropriate authorities for a probe on how they pervert justice.”

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