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The Oracle: Critiquing Judges and Judgments: The Dividing Line (Pt. 6)



By Mike Ozekhome


In last week’s edition, we discussed the following themes: the Position of Criticism of Judges in India, with emphasis on Contempt of Court and wondered whether Fair Criticism is being used as a Shield to Attack the Judiciary.

Today, we shall continue from there and move on to discuss the Position in the UK, Further Darts at the Judiciary elsewhere, after which we shall wonder about the necessity for restraint in criticism of Judges. Happy reading.


Vanya Verna therefore opines that judgements can be questioned and that no amount of vehement criticism of a decision can be considered contempt of court if it is kept within the bounds of reasonable civility and good faith.  For example, a speech that a decision is “rubbish and should be tossed into the trash” cannot be considered fair criticism of courts verdict. Such remarks go beyond the bounds of legitimate criticism and demonstrate propensity to undermine the Judiciary’s dignity, authority and prestige. Such vitriol also tends to raise public suspicions about Judge’s integrity, ability, or fairness, and also discourages actual and potential litigants from placing complete trust in the court’s administration of justice. Such may also likely cause embarrassment to the Judge himself in the performance of his judicial duties.


Going back to our ‘mother’ country – England (or the UK), the home of the common law which is the common denominator in some of the countries reviewed- we can do no better than re-echo the off-quoted words of, possibly, the most famous Judge of the past century, World War 1 veteran, Lord Denning. In R. v Commissioner of Police (1968) 2 QB. 150c, Denning said: “Let me say at once, that we will never use this jurisdiction to uphold our own dignity. That must rest on surer foundations. Nor we will use it to suppress those who speak against us. We do not fear criticism, nor do we resent it. For there is something far more important at stake. It is no less than freedom of speech itself. It is the right of every man, in parliament or out of it, in the press or over the broadcast, to make fair comment, even outspoken comment, on matters of public interest. All that we ask is that those who criticize us should remember that, from the nature of our duties, we cannot reply to their criticism. We cannot enter into the public controversy. We must rely on our conduct itself to be its own vindication”, This statement was made after the revered Jurist had been criticised as an “ass”, after he delivered one judgment. But, he never took offence or replied.

Lord Russel put it more poignantly in Reg v Gray (1990) 2 QB 40, when he illuminated: “Judges and courts alike are open to criticism and if reasonable argument or expostulating is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or ph kid good, no court could or would treat that as contempt of court” Lord Denning in his later years became known for making comment that didn’t really cohere. The Independent newspaper was so concerned about his decline, that it ran a piece just two days after his death (“If only Lord Denning had died at seventy”)- (

Lord Denning’s comment about black people serving on Juries, made in 1982, is perhaps his most controversial. He disagreed in his book, “What Next in the Law” that “The underlying assumption is that all citizens are sufficiently qualified to serve on a Jury.” Denning argued: “I do not agree. The English are no longer a homogenous race. They are white and black, coloured and brown. They no longer share the same standards of conduct. Some of them come from countries where bribery and graft are accepted as an undergrad part of life and where stealing is a virtue so long as you are not found out… they will never accept the word of a policeman against one of their own.”The comments caused such backlash that Denning publicity apologised and resigned soon after. (See (

The same Lord Denning was to later pronounce with great erudition that, “Justice has no place in darkness and in secrecy . When a judge sits on a case, he himself is on trial…..if there is any misconduct on his part, any bias or prejudice, there is a reporter to keep an eye on him”.-Lord Denning (Address before High court journalists Association, Dec 3, 1964).


Former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, once described the Judiciary as the “cancer of democracy.” This presumably had much to do with his personal situation of being accused several times of crimes, including bribing a Judge. Belgian Underminister Theo Francken announced in public that he would disregard a judgment of a Belgian court obliging him to deliver a visa to a Syrian family. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy qualified Judges as “petits pois sans saveur” (peas without flavor). This sentiment was, in a way, echoed by French President François Hollande, who in October 2016 was quoted as saying: “Cette institution, qui est une institution de lâcheté . . . Parce que c’est quand même ça, tous ces procureurs, tous ces hauts magistrats, on se planque, on joue les vertueux . . . On n’aime pas le politique.” (This institution — the Judiciary — is a cowardly institution, all those prosecutors and those high Judges, they hide themselves, they act self-righteously, they don’t like politics).

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, who was prosecuted and convicted of racial discrimination, attacked the Judges in his case as politically biased, saying, “No one trusts you anymore.” He proclaimed that if he were to be convicted, millions of Dutchmen should be convicted. Some years ago, when he was previously prosecuted for discrimination against Muslims, Wilders said that if he were to be convicted millions of people no longer would trust the Judiciary.

See generally: Geert Corstens: “Criticism of the Judiciary: The Virtue of Moderation” (https://judicature.duke.eda)

It is, as once pointed out by Justice Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252 (1941), that “Judges as persons, or courts as institutions, are entitled to no greater immunity from criticism than other persons or institutions. Just because the holders of judicial office are identified with interests of justice they may forget their common human frailties and fallibilities. They’re have sometimes been martinets upon the bench as there have also been pompous wielders of authority who have been used the paraphernalia of power in support of what they called their dignity.

Therefore judges must be kept mindful of their limitations and of their ultimate public responsibility by a vigorous stream of criticism expressed with candour however blunt.”The Holy Bible (James 5:9) reminds us as follows: “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door”. Admonishing Judges for being inconsistent in acts of the Apostles 23:3 (ESV), St Paul angrily intoned: “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?”


Outlandish, personalised? And direct criticisms of, and attack on Judges erode confidence in and undermine stability in the Judiciary. Judges are not in a position to defend themselves, or respond to criticism, no matter how virulent, false and It is thus unfair to hit at a person who is not in a position to defend himself. Justice is rooted in confidence. Any attempt to erode that confidence in the Judex is counter-productive.

Criticising Judges brings the administration of Justice to deep disrepute and ridicule. Faith in the administration of Justice is one of the pillars through which democratic institutions function or sustain. Criticism of Judges in their personal capacities (rather than their judgments) must be avoided like a plague. Such impairs and hampers the administration of justice. This is why Judges themselves must do what is right. In the words of Abraham Lincoln in his famous speech in 1965, “with malice towards none, with clarity for all, we must strive to do the right in the light given to us to determine that right.”

If Judges themselves decay, the contempt power they wield will itself also decay. “The other side of the coin is that Judges, like Caesars wife must be above suspicion (per Krishna Iyer, J, in Shrr Baradakanta Mishra v. The Registrar of Orissa High Court of Anor (1974 ISC. 374)


Nigerian Judges are notoriously over-worked and under-paid. They may not be saints- no one is, after all. But, they hardly deserve the scurrilous, uncharitable and, sometimes, unfair and destructive criticism which has been their lot, especially since the return to democracy about 24 years ago. The heating up and politicization of the polity appears to be complete, as even the Judiciary is not spared of the dirt. It is now seen as fair game on the chessboard of politicians. Judges have in effect, become mere sitting lame ducks- to be viciously lampooned, attacked, castigated and condemned at will- by the political class, their hirelings and some members of the public at large. Some of these critics lack the rudiments of what it takes to resolve disputes according to law.

We concede that like their counterparts across the world, court judgements are not immune to criticism- so long as it is constructive and made in good faith. What is unacceptable and must be condemned by all men and women of goodwill, is to target an individual Judge or Judges for personal attacks for doing their job, such as was recently done by some people in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision which recognized the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as the Senatorial Candidate of the ruling APC, ahead of Bashir Sheriff Machina, who clearly won the election – in which Ahmed Lawan never even participated.

As glaring as that injustice might seem, it did not warrant the intemperate language which some critics deployed in literally insulting the persons of the esteemed members of that noble court – the highest court of the land. This is unfortunate, to say the least; especially because Judges are precluded by their Code of Conduct, from speaking out (at least, individually), in their own defence. Suffice it to say, that whilst it is lawful to criticize the pronouncement of a court (or the Judiciary as an institution), it is grossly unacceptable to attack the persons or integrity of individual Judges, simply because their verdicts- sitting as a court, – are unpopular. Judicial decisions are not popularity contests.

Consequently, when Judges fall short of popular expectations, we must resist the temptation of attacking the messenger. We should, instead, focus on the message – and do so constructively, with moderation, decorum and utmost civility. We have options – appeal such judgements; or where the pronouncement was by the Supreme Court, humbly ask for a review. The Supreme Court has since accepted its power to review unfair decisions. Thus, in the causa celebre of ADEGOKE MOTORS V. ADESANYA, (1989) 3 NWLR (PT 109), 250, at 261, the apex court itself, per, Oputa JSC, dilated:

“We are final not because we are infallible, rather we are infallible because we are final. Justices of this court are human beings, capable of erring. It will certainly be short-sighted arrogance not to accept this obvious truth. It is also true that this court can do inestimable good through its wise decisions. Similarly, the court can do incalculable harm through its mistakes. When therefore it appears to learned counsel that any decision of this court has been given per incuriam, such counsel should have the boldness and courage to ask that such a decision be overruled. This court has the power to overrule itself (and has done so in the past) for it gladly accepts that it is far better to admit an error than to persevere in error.”

 God bless the Nigerian Judiciary – the very last hope of the common man and woman. (Concluded).


“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses”. (Johannes Kepler).

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

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