Supreme Court Justice urges lawyers to shun media criticism of judgments

LAWYERSA Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Dr. Chima Centus Nweze has admonished lawyers and law scholars to desist from criticising court judgments on the pages of newspapers and electronic media.
Nweze who spoke as the guest lecturer at the 10th memorial anniversary celebration of the former vice chancellor of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Jelili Adebisi Omotola (SAN) in Lagos said the late scholar developed the attitude of writing scholarly essays in law journals reviewing court decisions in land laws.

He advised law teachers to also write their criticisms in law journals so that judges can read them and learn from their opinions, adding that the Justices of the Supreme Court and the lower court judges are not infallible.
“What Omotola did in land law, I challenge you all law professors to do with your students”, he said, adding that judgments critics should always follow the ratio decidendi (reason for the decision) instead of kicking when judges consider submissions as obiter dictum (immaterials).

According to him, some lawyers are very flippant in their submissions and do not put up sound arguments. He challenged law teachers to ensure that they fail law students who are unable to pass their examinations, insisting that late Omotola never tolerated indolent students.
“Omotola’s ability to replicate himself in others simply reinforces the aphorism that a candle looses nothing by lightening others”, he concluded.

The event, which climaxed with the public presentation of two books “Prof Jelili Adebisi Omotola, (SAN): A visionary University Administrator” and “Critical Issues in Nigerian Property Law” was graced by who is who in the legal profession.
Among the dignitaries were the former deputy governor of Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN), Dean, faculty of law, UNILAG,  Prof. Akin Ibidapo-Obe, Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, a Professor of Jurisprudence,  Akin Oyebode, Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Court of Appeal, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), who represented the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).

Others were Sina Sofola (SAN), Kemi Balogun (SAN), Norrison Quakers (SAN), Prof. Chioma Agomuo, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN), Lagos Police Commissioner, Fatai Oweseni who represented the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, Kunle Busari (SAN), Wahab Shittu, Tony Odiadi, Justice Akeem Oshodi, Justice Aishat Opesanwo, Prof. Tunde Babawale, the chairmen of Lagos and Ikeja brances of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Martins Ogunleye and Yinka Farounbi respectively.

Earlier in his welcome address, Utuama said the late University administrator was his mentor and a father to him.  “The purpose of our gathering this morning is to celebrate a man who during his lifetime was a profound achiever, a distinguished legal luminary, a distinct University administrator, a family man per excellence, former head of private and public property law of University of Lagos, former dean and vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, an academic motivator and a welfarist; an illustrious Nigerian”, he stated, adding that he was loved my all and had an eye for excellence. He extolled the virtues of the late Professor of law.

Also, Sagay (SAN) said late Omotola bubbled with intellectual energy while alive. He remarked that Prof. Omotola was also a task-master who imbued the virtue of hard work on both the students and teachers of Land law.

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