The Supreme Court on Monday accused an opposition group of waging a campaign of calumny against it to influence its decision on the presidential election petition before it.
The court in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Festus Akande, accused the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) of spreading falsehood and warned that the group cannot make itself “an alternate supreme court.”
CUPP consists of dozens of political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which candidate it backed in the 2019 presidential election.
The group recently alleged that the Supreme Court was jettisoning the tradition of selecting the most senior justices of the court to constitute the panel that determines a presidential election petition.
But, according to a report by The Nation newspaper, the Supreme Court accused CUPP of spreading “blatant falsehood, misinformation and malicious rumour” with the allegation.
“We wish to state clearly that the association is not and can never constitute itself into an agency of the Nigerian Judiciary or assume the role of an alternate Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
The apex court also condemned the alleged falsehood, stressing that such actions negate “our collective morality and sense of decency as a nation.”
The Supreme Court accused CUPP of making up an imaginary list of justices to preside over the election matter, noting that the apex court is an independent body that will not allow itself to be cowed by anyone.
“Our operations are strictly guided by the Constitution and extant laws. We are not an appendage of any individual or group of people, and we don’t pander to the dictates of anybody or association.
“The Supreme Court, and by extension, the Judiciary, is an independent arm of government that can never be intimidated or dictated to by anybody.
“As soon as the presidential appeal panel is constituted, the public will be duly informed as the Supreme Court is not a secret society. Let us always observe caution when disseminating information to the public,” the Supreme Court said.
The Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate at the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the election.
The party proceeded to the apex court after the presidential election petition tribunal dismissed its petition in September.