Kemi Pinheiro advocates creation of supreme court in states

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Kemi Pinheiro,

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Kemi Pinheiro, has called for creation of supreme courts in states to reflect federalism.

Pinheiro made the call at a public presentation of book co-authored by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), in Ikeja on Wednesday evening.

The book is entitled: “The Supreme Court of Nigeria: History, Establishment, Jurists and Speeches”.

Pedro wrote the book together with Mr Abdulrasheed Ibrahim.

Pinheiro, who gave a lecture on “The Supreme Court: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” at the event, said that each state in the U.S. had its own supreme court.

“It is about time states start having supreme courts if we are really serious about federalism. There is no reason the states cannot have their supreme courts.

“There are certain cases that should not end up in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“For instance, why would matrimonial matters, customary law cases end up in the Supreme Court?

“Why would you, for instance, tell a Supreme Court judge who is from Zamfara State to take a decision in relation to customary law that has to do with Ebonyi State law.

“It does not make sense,” he argued.

He also suggested that, in order to reduce heavy case loads in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the jurisdiction of the court should be limited to only appeals arising from matters within the jurisdiction of federal courts such as the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court.

Pinheiro also recommended better service conditions, better healthcare services and increased remuneration for judicial officers.

He said that there was need for appointment of more justices at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

According to him, there should be amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow for termination of certain appeals at the Court of Appeal.

“What business should the Supreme Court have with divorce cases and tenancy matter?

“Just as matters from National Industrial Court ends at the Court of Appeal, same should be applicable to a number of civil matters.

“There should be enhancement of independence of the judiciary,” Pinheiro said.

Lagos State Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his opening remarks, said that the state was proud of the attorney-general for writing the book.

Sanwo-Olu was represented by the Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mrs Abimbola Salu-Hudeyin.

He congratulated the attorney-general for successfully completing the compendium that had to do with the Supreme Court.

“As we delve into the pages of this book and reflect upon the journey of the Supreme Court, we are not merely revisiting history but also embracing the present and contemplating the future.

“We stand at a juncture where the past achievements of our judiciary serves as a guide, illuminating the path forward towards a more equitable and inclusive legal system, by extension, our society.

“I am certain that the enriching legal contents of this book will be very valuable to lawyers and non-lawyers,” he said.

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, said that the book would give a deeper insight into how the Supreme Court worked.

According to him, the book will help Nigerian to remould the Supreme Court in terms of jurisdiction.

He said: “I listened to learned silk, Pinheiro, when he said certain matter should not go to Supreme Court,.

“I totally support that, particularly interlocutory application, which is the bane of our judicial system.

“Once interlocutory matters or simple matters are allowed to go up to Supreme Court, it is a tactic, which some ingenious lawyers use as a tool to delay proceedings when they foresee that their cases will not succeed.

“The publication of this book is an effort that deserves much commendations.”

The immediate past Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who chaired the event, said that, from all ramifications, the Supreme Court should be the merging point or conference of all the best in the legal profession.

“We are here today making history.

“Whatever we do or write today will outlive us as we are writing history, and this profession belongs to all of us,” he said.

Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Pedro, in his welcome address, had said that the book provided an insight into the establishment and composition of the Supreme Court.

“With rigorous efforts and research embarked upon by myself and my learned friend Abdulrasheed, we were able to bring together 48 valedictory speeches of our retired justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“This include those who are dead and alive.

“The valedictory speeches give room to learn a lot from the experiences of the retired justices of the apex court,” Pedro said. (NAN)