Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen has disclosed how some desperate lawyers forged court judgments to meet up with the qualification for the award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Although Justice Onnoghen did not revealed the identity of the affected lawyers, he however said the matter has been reported to the police for prosecution.
He made the disclosure yesterday after swearing -in 30 lawyers who were conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC).
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At the event which was used to kick-start the new legal year of the Supreme Court, the CJN further warned Judges not to be used by litigants to turn justice into commercial commodity for the highest bidder.
Onnoghen urged judicial officers to shun all acts of corrupt practices and abide by their oath of office.
We must not lose sight of the indispensable role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption. Corruption continues to place the judiciary in the eye of the storm, but, we cannot allow that to deter us or weaken our resolve. We must resist all attempts by a rapacious elite to make justice a commercial commodity. This is an imperative if democracy is to be sustained in our country where the free market milieu seems to be promoting an alarming notion that there is a price tag for everything! We must accept that acts of misconduct of a few rub off on the rest of the judiciary and create the impression that all judicial officers have their hands soiled with the proceeds of corruption.
”I have to point out the fact that in the just concluded exercise, some applicants were found to have engaged in dishonourable conduct such as forgery of judgments, resulting in their being reported to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.
“We have to know that if one is not for any reason qualified to wear silk as a Judicial officer, he cannot wear it as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,” Justice Onnoghen warned.
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Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the newly sworn Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), called for the establishment of divisions of the Supreme Court to facilitate quick dispensation of appeals before the court.
“We also call upon the Chief Justice of Nigeria to do something very urgent and drastic about the length of time it takes for cases to be disposed off in the Supreme Court. As I speak, only appeals filed before 2006 are being attended to and routinely given dates. Any appeal filed after that can only be heard by a special dispensation.
“While other courts were mutating and putating the Supreme Court remained immutable. It remained single, jealously single. This single Supreme Court can no longer withstand the avalanche of judgments that come from these various carders of the court.
“The realities and dynamics of the present day judicature makes it imperative that the Supreme Court must break into divisions. It is suggested that we begin by having three divisions- one in Enugu, one in Ibadan and another either in Abuja or Kaduna.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) urged the court to urgently and equitably adjudicate on various matters involving the interpretation and implementation of the Constitution that may arise from the 2019 general elections.
The AGF who was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata specifically tasked the courts to adjudicate on issues that have impact on the sustenance of our national values and the sanctity of our political system.
Those elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate were the Director General of Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, the Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun; Adekola Olawoye (Attorney General Of Ondo State); Mosediq Adeniji Kazeem Esq (Attorney General Of Lagos State) and the only female on the list, Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose.
Others were Oba Maduabuchi , Essien Udom , Metong Urombo, Prof. Wahab Egbewole, George Igbokwe; Olubowale Taiwo; Oluwole Iyamu; Stephen Ojo; Omeko Adehi; Oluseun Akinbiyi ; Emmanuel Achukwu; Kenneth Ahia; Louis Alozie ; Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika; Johnson Ojo; Wole Agunbiade; Olayode Delano; Tanimu Inuwa; Sonny Wogu; Prof. Offorinze Amucheazi; Adewale Eyitemi Atake; Edmund Obiagwu; Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi; Cosmas Enweluzo ; Ishaka Mudi and Olabode Olanipekun.