The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem on Friday said the court has so far received 600 pre election matters from its 20 Divisions.
Dongbam-Mensem made this known when Amb. Samuela Isopi, Ambassador, EU Delegation paid her a visit in her office.
“The court received over 600 Pre-Election appeals in the 20 Divisions of the Court from November to date and more appeals are still being filed
” .Over 60 Panels were setup in the various Divisions to hear and determine all Pre-Election appeals filed.
” Mindful of the pressures under which the Hon Justices are working, some experienced Registrars of the Court were empanelled to summarize the decisions so far made and distribute to the various divisions to avoid conflicting decisions,” she said.
The president expressed joy at their presence which she said provided an opportunity to exchange views, share experiences and learn from their respective experiences in their countries.
No doubt, she said there are challenges being experienced, what is imperative is how those challenges were surmounted to ensure the sustenance of democracy in the Country.
According to her, transparency in the electoral process is one of the core values of democratic stability in a nation.
She stated that the active involvement of Election Observation Missions in Nigeria to ensure free, fair and credible elections is appreciated.
“Pertinent to state that the role of these Observer Organizations have greatly impacted the resolve to review the Electoral Act, 2010.
“The Electoral Act, 2022 has introduced laudable innovations to strengthen our democracy and ensure credible elections.
“The Court of Appeal has reviewed, developed and expanded the scope of working materials for Judges she said.
According to her there is now a Judicial Electoral Manual which incorporate decisions of the Supreme Court and those of this Court and the “critical” fundamental sections of the Electoral Act, 2022
This , she said, to ensure that appeals with similar facts and issues are categorized together to maintain the doctrine of stare decisis.
” In preparation of delivering its Constitutional mandate, the Court is faced with numerous challenges which includes but not limited to paucity of funds
” To effectively manage the tribunals, deployment of ICT equipment and the need for continuous training of support staff with a view to enhancing their capacities and powers to effectively drive the electoral adjudication process.
” Permit me to state that the Court is in a dilemma, we have just 21 days to the General Election and the special intervention fund to conduct the Election Petition Tribunal is yet to be released she said.
She added that this will impact negatively on the activities of the Court and Tribunals to effectively discharge its Constitutional duties.
” It is expected that by now, provisions would have been made for the procurement of necessary materials and equipment needed for the smooth running of the various Tribunals.
” Also we ought to have organised further trainings for Hon. Justices, Members of the Tribunals and Secretariat Staff but we cannot due to paucity of funds.
“We are hopeful that these challenges will be soon addressed before the conduct of the General Election.
” I thank your Excellences for the visit and look forward to a fruitful interactive session” she said.
Speaking , Amb.l Isopi , expressed delight in the effort noticed in the improvement in election matters.
” One of the points you made was to support the judiciary on building capacity of judges on election related matters .
” I am happy to say we were able to support in training 300 judges.
” We also trained secretaries and support staff because, for us ,this is something that is seen as being crucial .
” This is because, we know that it really can contribute in improving and promoting election disputes resolutions she said.