Godwin Tsa, Abuja
As the 2019 general elections approaches, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has charged judges not to be willing instruments in the hands of desperate politicians to achieve their personal and selfish interests.
CJN urged judges to be firm and courageous in the discharge of their constitutional obligations.
Onnoghen issued the warning yesterday while administering the oath of office on12 new justices of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The CJN further admonished the new judges to adhere strictly to the constitution and abide by their oath of office, the code of conduct for judicial officers, as well as, judicial precedents in dealing with cases before them.
He said as judicial officers, they should use the law as it should be used to decide matters that are brought before them, adding that in any matter one party must win while the other looses.
The CJN said that when judges do the right things at the right time, they “will sleep and snore and will not care whose ox is gored because judiciary and the law will be there to protect them”
In the same vein, Onnoghen said judges will be sleepless when they cut corners, adding that, they must be courageous and fearless in the discharge of their duties.
The CJN noted that with the inauguration of the justices, the court of Appeal has been enriched with more hands, who have been found worthy and so honoured.
He however, charged them to be more hardworking because of the workload of the court.
On the issue of financial autonomy for state judiciary, the CJN remarked that the constitution had already granted that under section 121(3), but that the political will to enforce it has been lacking, noting that, “financial autonomy for the judiciary has been there what has been lacking is the political courage and will to enforce the constitution by past administration “.
The 12 new justices of the Court of Appeal are: Patricia A. Mahmud, Folasade O. Ojo, Ibrahim A. Andenyangsto, Gabriel O. Kolawole, Bariki B. Aliyu and James G Abundaga. Others are Ebiowei Tobi, Abubakar S. Umar, Abubakar M. Talba, Abdullahi M. Bayero, Abubakar M. Lamido and Mohammed B. Idris.