By; SAMSON YAKI, Lafia
The Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Nasarawa State has frowned at the recent transfer of its member, Aisha Abdullahi following the issuance of bench warrant against the Commissioner of Works, Housing and Transport in the state, Engr. Idris Mohammed.
Ms Abdullahi, the presiding Magistrate of Senior Magistrates Court, Uke had on Monday, October 31, 2022, issued the warrant for the arrest and remand of the Commissioner at the Correctional Centre, Keffi.
The presiding Magistrate hinged her decision on “continues disobedience to the court” by Engr. Mohammed who is standing trial for offences of criminal conspiracy, trespass and mischief in an action filed by Engr. Idris Aliyu Bori and one other.
Few days after issuing the bench warrant, Magistrate Abdullahi was transferred. This, the state Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said was routine and not vindictive as being speculated.
The Executive Secretary of JSC, Yahaya Yakubu Shasa, speaking with The Nigeria Lawyer, emphasised that the transfer was a routine process which it decided to embark upon in order to rejig the Magistrate Courts.
He described the timing of the said Order and the Magistrate’s transfer as coincidental, saying the new Magistrate will continue from where the transferred Magistrate stopped and the order remains subsisting and valid.
“Nasarawa State Judiciary enjoys great autonomy and we do not allow any form of interference from whether the Executive, Legislature or any other person,” Shasa added.
Reacting however, the state’s chapter of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria said the transfer “is capable of dampening the moral of Magistrates and litigants when handling high profile cases”.
They made this known in a communique issued shortly after an emergency meeting in Lafia on Wednesday.
The communique signed by Mairiga A. Abdullahi and Emmanuel J. Agbi, the Chairman and Secretary of the association, respectively, frowned at the transfer “whilst a subsisting bench warrant was issued against a defendant”.
“The Magistrates are calling on the authorities to, in the interest of fair hearing, justice and harmonious coexistence, to reconsider and reverse the recent posting of Aisha Abdullahi,” they appealed.
Reversing the transfer, the association added “will restore the confidence of Magistrates, Litigants and the image of the judiciary at large”.
Magistrate Aisha Abdullahi according to reports was transferred to Agwada, Kokona Local Government Area of the state.