Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Leave The Courts Alone - C.J.

Nigeria's Chief Justice Mr. Justice Atanda Fatai Williams wants supporters of all political parties to leave the courts alone so that the courts are not polluted by political pressures.

In a special statement in connection with the hearing of some election petition pending before the court, the Chief Justice disclosed that over the last few days, all sorts of persons, some eminent, others not so eminent from a particular state in the country, have been trying to dictate to him as to the composition of who will hear the appeals.

Mr. Justice Fatai Williams pointed out that he had informed "these misguided persons" in clear terms that it was his prerogative to set up the panel and under no circumstances would he change the panel as at presently constituted.

He warned those people who are attempting to interfere or perverse the course of justice to desist from doing so.

The Chief Justice warned that if such people persisted, he would call in the police.

Mr. Justice Fatai Williams said that he has complete and unalloyed confid ence in the integrity and dedication of justices of the Supreme Court.

He declared: "We have shown in Nigeria over and over again that the court is totally committed to the pursuit of justice to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will".

The Chief Justice pointed out that during his four years in office no Nigerian, not even the President or the Vice-President had once discussed political matters pending in any court in the country.

He went on: "Mr. President and the Vice-President have left the Supreme Court and other Federal Courts alone to do their work as provided by the constitution without let or hindrance.

He continued "I have always abided by the decision of these courts whether they are in favour of the executive or not."

Three Top Men Fined In Liberia

Three top Liberian government officials have been fined 500 dollars by the supreme court for refusing to lift the freeze on the account of a local security firm.

They are the country's justice minister, the solicitor-general and the governor of the National Bank.

According to a report on Monrovia Radio, the fine followed a supreme court ruling granting the corporation a writ of probation preventing the justice minister from closing down the company which he had earlier said was operating illegally.

In its submission to the court, the management of the security firm said that the company was duly registered and denied a justice ministry claim that the company had not satisfied statutory requirements for registration as a security firm.

The supreme court in its ruling said that it was wrong for the ministry of justice to arbitrarily freeze the account of the corporation or order its closure.

The court said that if the ministry felt that the company was operating illegally, it should have sought to withdraw its certificate.

China To Help Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, which spends about 4.34 million dollars annually on road maintenance, may soon ask China to reactivate the National Railway system scrapped 15 years ago on the advice of the World Bank.

Tamba Kamara, administrative secretary of the country's All Peoples Congress (APC), raised the possibility at a press briefing marking the first Sierra Leone-China solidarity week.

Mr. Kamara said that the party believed "our railway system should be reactivated and developed in order to relieve our beleaguered highways and cut down our dependence on oil. As we seek to diversify and intensify our cooperation with the Chinese the urgency of the railway is now a matter for national discussion," he said.

The possibility of reopening the railway - built by the country's British colonial masters 85 years ago came into the open in July. The matter was raised in parliament by nominated Member of Parliament Ali Dausy Wurie, who noted that the country had grown from 1.5 million people to four million and said that any subsidy for the railway would be nothing compared to what was spent on road maintenance.

talking drums 1983-10-17 Houphouet-Boigny Ivorian stability - Ghanaian women economic backbone or saboteurs