Supreme Court bars parties, media from accessing full text of judgments

The Supreme Court on Friday activated its constitutional powers to hold on to full text of judgments it had delivered until seven days.

Justice Dattijo Mohammed, leading two other justices of the court held that the non-release of copies of 10 judgments he delivered on Friday was to adhere strictly to the provision of the constitution.

He said the main reason was to ensure that intolerable topographical errors were corrected before they could be made public document, as according to him, such noticeable errors can be misinterpreted.

“The court has the constitutional powers to hold on to its judgments for seven day, so this is not new as it has the backing of the law.

“We however regret the setback as many of you had come today with the hope of going back with copies of the judgments.

“The court will however not make the copies of its judgments to parties again until after seven day,” Mohammed said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a reporter, Ms Jamila Audu, said that journalists were worst hit by this decision.

Audu said it is however, characteristic of the justices of the apex court to simply read out the conclusions of their judgments, leaving journalists to heavily depend on the full text of those judgments.

The said journalists had, therefore, cashed in on the immediate availability of copies of those judgments to write their stories, but as it stands, such luxury might have come to an end.

Lawyers, Senior Advocates and their clients had walked out of the court even more dejected as they had considered seven days to be too long to have access to copies of their judgments.

NAN reports that the judgments covered decisions on both civil and criminal appeals.

The civil judgments included that of the Attorney-General of Lagos State versus Eko Hotels and others.

The court had consolidated three other civil appeals involving the All Progressive Congress (APC), Hon. Sunday Aghero, Godwin Adenomo and two others.

The criminal judgments included those of Akinyede Olaiya and the State, Emmanuel Ogboyi and the State, Chifaani Okarie and the State as well as Musa Abdulmumin and the Federal Government.

>The rest were between Esonu Chukwunye and the State and Jamiu Dairo and the State respectively. (NAN)

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