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Our judicial system now subjected to mockery — CJN

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Chief of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has lamented that some errant judges have subjected the nation’s judicial system to mockery by continually dishing out misleading and conflicting judgments.

Justice Ariwoola however assured that punitive measures have already been activated to make them face the consequences of their despicable and odious conduct.

The CJN spoke on Wednesday at the inauguration of 34  judicial officers made up of 22 Justices of the Court of Appeal and  12 Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He admonished judicial officers to always deliver the right judgments that will not be tainted by sentiments, emotions or other clandestine considerations.

Justice Ariwoola who frowned at the conduct of such errant judges noted: “I have made it known at different fora that we have been treated to an unpalatable cocktail of misleading and conflicting judgments as well as frivolous interlocutory orders emanating from courts of coordinate jurisdictions, which have literally attempted to make a mockery of our judicial system and flagrantly desecrate the revered Temple of Justice.

“Several cases of such abound across the length and breadth of the country. This is, largely, an embarrassment to our jurisprudence, and we will never handle it with levity. Punitive measures must definitely be meted out to such erring Judges.

“We have already activated the process of reining in such errant Judges with a view to making them face the consequence of their despicable and odious conduct.

Read also: CJN to inaugurate daughter-in-law, Wike’s daughter, I0 others as judges for FCT High Court 

“As Judicial Officers, we have to continually remind Ourselves the fact that we are not occupying our respective positions to serve ourselves, but the Nigerian masses; and the best way we can serve them is by doing what will make them feel safe in our hands and also trust us to always deliver the right judgments that will not be tainted by sentiments, emotions or other clandestine considerations.

“Today’s ceremony is an indication of the perilous times that we are currently in, which has resulted in an upsurge in litigation.

“Several unfathomable crimes are being committed in the country, aside from the usual political matters that have made litigations go on an alarming rise.

“No court in the land is spared of this litigation deluge, as it were. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever-increasing in response to the challenges of the time.

“This underscores the fact that Nigeria is fast emerging as a frontline crime-infested country that we all have to urgently curtail.”

He noted that the enormous task of cleaning the Augean stable rests squarely on the new justices who must hastily “fasten your belts and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on.”.

“In other words, you should hit the ground speeding at a supersonic velocity; and not just running.

“You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the sprawling community of litigants. As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity.

“You must give a good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court of Appeal.

“In the next couple of months, we shall be having two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, respectively. As usual, the Courts will be besieged with a plethora of petitions. It is our statutory duty to hear all matters that come before us and adjudicate according to the laws of the land.

“We must not falter and we must not tread the path of infamy. Yes, it is true that we cannot please everyone through our actions and work, but with the right application of the law and the Constitution of the land, which we all have collectively pledged to uphold, we can go a long way to do those things that our conscience will be very proud of; and the generality of the Nigerian citizens will equally be happy about.

“Every position we attain in life always avails us that unique opportunity to do something novel and impactful, especially if there was any previous act of wrongdoing or misapplication of discretion.

“With Your Lordships’ elevation to the higher bench today, you have to be very mindful of the enormous confidence the public is now reposing in you vis-a-vis these expectations.

“Like we often say, to whom much is given, much is expected. Your Lordships must not rest on your oars, as the onus now lies more heavily on you to discharge your judicial duties more dispassionately, discretionary, and transparently.

“So, you must, individually and collectively, guide your loins to do more to earn lasting trust and integrity. Your conduct and disposition must tally with the yearnings and aspirations of the generality of the citizenry.”

The CJN’s daughter-in-law, Ariwoola Oluwakemi Victoria and daughter of the FCT Minister, Lesley Nkesi Belema Wike are among the 12 judges to be sworn in as the new judicial officers.

The new Judges are Buetnaan Mandy Bassi from Plateau State; Ademuyiwa Olakunle Oyeyipo from Kwara State; Bamodu Odunayo Olutomi from Lagos State; Iheabunike Anumaenwe Godwin from Imo State and Odo Celestine Obinna from Enugu State and Hauwa Lawal Gummi from Zamfara State respectively.

The rest are Sarah Benjamin Inesu Avoh from Bayelsa State; Maryam Iye Yusuf from Kogi State; Ariwoola Oluwakemi Victoria from Oyo State; Lesley Nkesi Belema Wike from Rivers State; Ibrahim Tanko Munirat from Bauchi State and  Abdulrahman Usman from Taraba State.

Read also: Alleged abuse of office: Lawyers call on CJN Ariwoola to resign

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