Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner has criticised Ibrahim Mohammed, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) for breaking Ramadan Fast With President Muhammadu Buhari.
Late Thursday night, photos of the president and the top jurist winning and dinning alongside other members was released to the public. POLITICS TIMES gathered the photographs were taken at the breaking of Ramadan Fast, a religious practice among Muslims in the country.
Mr Effiong, a Human Rights Activist, said Mohammed ought not dine with the president because he is a judicial officer who will definitely attend to the election petition challenging the outcome of the exercise that produced Buhari for a second term in office.
The presidential election held earlier in the year is currently being challenged by Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who lost to the Nigerian leader who is expected to begin his second term next week.
Mr Abubakar, a former vice president is currently at the Presidential Election Tribunal praying he been declared winner of the February 23 exercise based on results allegedly gotten from the electronic serves of the electoral body that conducted the election.
Criticising Mohammed over his action, Effiong said public perception and appearance of impropriety were some of the reasons why judicial officers usually live a reclusive life, devoid of serious social contacts.
The activist who stated that Judges, unlike lawyers, are not allowed to associate or mingle with the society they live in, added that the fact that a judicial officer is also the head of the judicial arm of government does not change the ethical standard.
“I know in this country, we wickedly use religion as an alibi to evade responsibility and conceal the truth,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday.
“Breaking Ramadan fast is not an official function, it is not part of the obligations of the office of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria in any way. It is a personal thing. And if I were a judicial officer, let alone the most senior judicial officer in the country, I would not be breaking fast or paying Christmas visit to the President of Nigeria.
“If I must do it, it will not be to a President who is a notorious violator of the rule of law. If I have to dine with a President who disobeys court orders, it will certain not be at a time when the same President is a litigant before a Tribunal hearing a petition against his election, knowing that the decision of that tribunal will most likely come before me in the Supreme Court. I will think about the perception of right thinking members of the society before dining with that President,” Effiong said.
The lawyer who quoted 2016 Rule 1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers to back up his claim noted that Judges are required to avoid social contacts as much as possible. He said the CJN should be the shining example as Justice is rooted in confidence and not in legal technicalities.