From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chief Just of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko, vowed on Monday to jail government appointees including other public office holders who disobey court orders.
The CJN specifically registered his regrets over the altitude of some persons occupying positions of authority who flagrantly disobey court orders and make a boast of it.
Justice Tanko spoke while conferring the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on 72 legal practitioners.
Although the CJN was not physically present at the inauguration ceremony, which also marked the 2020/2021 legal year, he was represented by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour
Among the new SANs are the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasonye, Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpo, the immediate past Akwa Ibom state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Uwemedimo Nwoko and Douglas Terkula People (SAN).
The CJN also admonished lawyers, particularly the young cohort, to always observe all court rules and not mislead their clients for pecuniary gains.
‘Apart from the mode of dressing, which I have occasionally complained about, the conduct of some of them within and outside the courtrooms calls for serious concern,’ he stated.
‘Some have turned the court premises to press interview centres where they cast all manner of aspersions on judicial officers, especially when judgments do not favour them.
‘Henceforth, severe sanctions will be meted out on them, therefore, they should always show the ability and capacity to counsel clients well.’
He said that obedience of lawful court orders has no alternative in any society.
‘We must respect and observe all the tenets of an enduring democracy. Nigeria is not a lawless society and no one, irrespective of his or her status, should turn it to one.
‘Most times, some persons, who by sheer stroke of providence find themselves in positions of authority, flagrantly disobey lawful court orders and even boast about it.
‘Such acts will henceforth no be condoned. In fact, they will be met with severe consequences and we must therefore extinguish such raging fire before it consumes us all.’
According to him, ‘the Correctional Centres are not there for decoration, such literally incorrigible and obstinate elements in our mist must be tutored in those centres to deter the several others eagerly waiting in the to embark on such inglorious expedition.
‘The court will not only bark but will bite harder and deeper too,’ he warned.
The CJN disclosed that the Supreme Court in the 2019/2020 legal year had a total of 908 cases, comprising of motions and appeals.
‘Out of the number, we heard 497 civil, 168 criminal and 35 political matters, thus amounting to a total of 700 motions.
‘The Court also considered a total number of 208 appeals, being 134 civil, 52 criminal and 22 political appeals and also, a total of 189 judgments were given within the legal year under review.’
Justice Vivour further disclosed that the Supreme Court disposed of 52 corruption and financial crime cases, the Court of Appeal, 121 cases, Federal High Court, 19, FCT High Court 10 cases and all state High Courts, 188 cases.
All those who spoke at the occasion called for collective efforts for an improved and respectable judicial system.
The speakers included Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice represented by the Solicitor General, Dayo Akpata, SAN, and Chief Thomson Okpoko, SAN, who represented the body of SAN he Supreme Court on Monday conferred the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on 72 legal practitioners.
The event which held in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols, as a lot of dignitaries including state governors and Speaker of the House of Representatives.