CJN: We Have Activated Process for Punishing Judges Who Give Misleading, Conflicting Orders

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Wednesday disclosed that machinery has been put in place to bring to book judges who are in the habit of issuing misleading and conflicting orders especially by courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

Also to be disciplined are judges in the habit of granting frivolous applications; an act which has brought the country’s judiciary into disrepute.

The CJN made the disclosure at the inauguration of the 22 justices newly elevated to the Court of Appeal, as well as 12 legal practitioners newly appointed as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Speaking shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, which held at the ceremonial court of the Supreme Court in Abuja, Ariwoola lamented that the judiciary “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”.

Noting that several cases of such abound across the length and breadth of the country, the CJN who described the menace as “an embarrassment” to the nation’s jurisprudence, assured Nigerians that “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,” he said.

The CJN added that as judicial officers, they have to continually remind themselves of the fact that they are not occupying their respective positions to serve themselves, but the Nigerian masses.

He noted that the best way they can serve the people is by doing what will make the people feel safe and have confidence that the judges will always deliver right judgments that will not be tainted by sentiments, emotions or other clandestine considerations.

“My Lords, you have just taken the oath to pledge your allegiance to the dictates of the Almighty God and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a solemn pledge and commitment to good conduct in the course of your adjudication, especially as senior judicial officers in the appellate court,” he said.

“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 to go on 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 added.

He therefore charged the new judges to face the challenges head on and redouble efforts so as to catch up with the expectations of the sprawling community of litigants.

“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 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,” he added.

Among the newly sworn in 22 Justices of the Court of Appeal were: Abdullahi Muhammad Liman from Nasarawa State; Abiodun Azeem Akinyemi from Ogun State; Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi from Oyo State; Zainab Bage Abubakar from Kebbi State; Isaq Mohammed Sani from Kaduna State and Lateef Babajide Lawal-Akapo from Lagos State.

Others were Donatus Nwaezuoke Okorowo from Enugu State; Ruqayat Oremei Ayoola from Kogi State; Polycarp Terna Kwahar from Benue State; Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike from Rivers State; Fadawa Umaru from Borno State; Oyewumi Oyejoju Oyebiola from Oyo State; Ntong Festus Ntong from Akwa Ibom State; Nehizena Idemudia Afolabi from Edo State and Nnamdi Okwy Dimgba from Abia State.

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