The acting President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has called for early and pragmatic training of justices and judges on election petitions.
While receiving a team from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) last week in Abuja, Justice Dongban-Mensem called for modalities for the judicial officers to be trained on the usage of the Manual for Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) as a way of broadening their scope of understanding its application.
She said, “I would like IFES to consider having more regular workshops for justices; not just when elections are around the corner. This will also allow for proper feedback on how well people appreciate this effort and how your organisation intends to implement the issues raised to ensure that the process is better executed for positive result.”
On the way forward, while commending IFES for a job well done in partnering with the Court of Appeal, the acting PCA said that although it was a difficult period now necessitating thinking out of the box on how things could be done differently to achieve same results irrespective of the pandemic, while leveraging on ICT tools to reach out to the justices and judges, there was need for a decentralisation of the project to the six geopolitical zones.
The Country Director of IFES, Mr. Hermann Thiel, led the Deputy Country Director, Seray Jah, and the Project Manager, Mr. Simon Fanto, to brief the acting PCA on plans being made to convene a debriefing conference of the justices and judges who participated in the 2019 Election Petitions Tribunal Processes, as well as review the Manual for EPT.
Mr. Thiel disclosed that their visit was of dual purpose: to familiarise himself with the new acting PCA and intimate her on the organisation’s activities and to plan on how to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.