Godn 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 interest.
Rather, the 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 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 used 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 loses.
“Let me emphasized here now that politics is here and election matters will be arising, as judges things should be done to bring down the temperature. We have to be careful so as not to be used as instruments for personal and intraparty squabble and that we should use the law to decide all political matters according to law because judiciary remains the hope of every man whether superman or ordinary man”, he said.
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.
“As judicial officers, you carry the whole nation on your head in terms of justice dispensation and when you adhere to your oath of office, there would be no problem”, he said.
The CJN noted that with the inuaguration 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. ” Let me emphasized here that to whom much is given much is expected.
“Your appointment and inuaguration is not for holiday but an invitation to be hardworking. Your track records are there, but you can improve on them because of the new status and new challenges”, he said.
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. ” 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 “.
Onnoghen emphasized that the independence of the judiciary is the bedrock of democracy, adding that adherence to the rule of law is the solution to our problems.
He stressed that impunity would vanish, when all of us resolved to do the right thing at the right time.
justices to abide strc
The 12 new Justices of the Court of Appeal are Justice Patricia A. Mahmud, Justice Folasade O. Ojo, Justice Ibrahim A. Andenyangsto, Justice Gabriel O. Kolawole, Justice Bariki B. Aliyu, Justice James G. Abundaga, Justice Ebiowei Tobi, Justice Abubakar S. Umar, Justice Abubakar M. Talba, Justice Abdullahi M. Bayero, Justice Abubakar M. Lamido and Justice Mohammed B. Idris.