By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
Judicial officers in Cross River State have been warned not to be caught in the web of dispensing justice to highest bidders in the course of dispensing their duties.
The charge was handed down to the judicial officers by the General Overseer of Christian Central Chapel International, CCCI, Faith Mansion World Headquarters, Ikot Ene-Obong 8 Miles Calabar, Bishop Dr. Gospel Emmah Isong.
Isong admonished that once a matter is brought to court, judgment should be delivered without fear or favour, so that parties involved in the dispute can resign to their fates instead of waiting for who bids higher before judgement can be delivered.
The cleric gave this advice while responding to questions from journalists shortly after he concluded officiating in the church service to mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year, which took place at the CCCI headquarters in Calabar on Monday.
The international preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who doubles as National Publicity Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, stressed that it is dangerous if the judiciary allowed judgement to be procured by the highest bidder, warning on how society can be put in jeopardy if judges failed to deliver judgement according to rule of law.
Earlier in his sermon delivered in the church auditorium before a team of lawyers, High Court judges, and magistrates titled: “A Woman Taken In Adultery,” with Biblical inference drawn from the Book of John chapter 8, verses 3 through 5, the cleric stated that the issue was not adultery, but a scenario to trap Jesus by juxtaposing it with God’s grace.
While urging members of the judiciary to be circumspect, Isong said, “Judicial officers, especially those who sit on the bench and the bar, should look well and listen carefully because the world is wicked, people can be set up, lies can be told, not what you see can be true.
“The woman supposedly caught in adultery was just a bait to arrest Jesus for blasphemy and that was arranged by some Pharisees in some dubious process without evidences and her case could not be proven without reasonable doubt.”
Arguing that the central issue with the case was how to apply the law of Moses in the dispensation of grace, Bishop Isong called for application of wisdom, just as it was done by Jesus Christ, so that offenders of the law can be punished according to laid down rules.
Speaking also at the event earlier, before Isong mounted the pulpit, the state Chief Judge, Justice Akon Ikpeme, stated that the 2022/2023 legal year is a year like no other and commended the judicial officers for making the out gone year a success.
He equally commended the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, for the support his administration has given the the their a of government.
In his remarks, the Cross River State governor, Professor Ayade, who was represented by state deputy governor, Prof Ivara Esu, stated that the expectations of the government and citizens this legal year is enormous.
Ayade charged the judicial officers to eschew favoritism , particularly to those who feel judgment can be procured and urged them to be bold in the discharge of their duty, no matter whose ox is gored.