Budget Constraint Crippling the Judiciary, Says CJN


Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has said that the judiciary is suffering more than any other arms of government under the present budgetary challenges.

The CJN spoke in Abuja at the 2016 refresher course for Chief Registrars, Deputy Chief Registrars, Directors and Secretaries of Judicial Service Commissions/Committee, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI).

His lordship expressed discomfort over the impact of inefficient financial allocation to the judiciary.

According to him, current budgetary challenges being experienced in the country affected the judiciary more than any other arm of government.

Mohammed therefore urged court administrators to evolve ways of ensuring efficient operation of the courts in spite of the budgetary challenges.

He said: “The current budgetary challenges permeating the nation, no doubt affects the Judiciary more than any other arm of government and remains a perennial challenge to judicial independence and the effective performance of our constitutional roles.

“Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, you must ensure that your policies are holistic, calculated to improve the credibility and effectiveness of your respective jurisdictions specifically and the entire system of justice administration as a whole.”

He urged them to shun unethical practices, including corrupt acts and abuse of office, capable of impacting negatively the public image of the judiciary.

He advised participants to always be guided by their codes of service and work to ensure the effectiveness of the justice administration system.

“As the ‘heart’ of the court system, the Chief Registrar and/or Secretary must be honest, a person of exceptional integrity and decorum and an expert in financial, administrative and social matters.

“Your actions are like a beacon of light that other staff can aspire to follow and depend upon for guidance. Thus, a Chief Registrar/ Secretary who is susceptible to bribery in any form, or who is prone to nepotism, favouritsm, tribalism and other negative ‘isms’ is unworthy of his office and has no place in the judiciary,” he said.

The CJN urged the senior judicial staff to be strict on discipline and ensure that the bad ones among court workers are identified and promptly dealt with.

He called on the senior officials to lead by example because attitudes found among the junior staff, largely reflected the attitude of the leadership.

“As such, you must act in accordance with due process and be disciplined in your work, avoiding the tendency to micro-manage as a policy-maker, while ensuring clear authority for implementation in the managers.

“You can only stand on a moral high ground and act effectively, where your own ethics and integrity are not in doubt, as our collective objective is to maintain the sanctity and solemnity of our temples of justice.

“All court administrators must collectively strive to remove any clog in the wheel of justice by creatively imbibing strategies that will systemically improve our processes thus, enhancing transparency and accountability.

“Specifically, Chief Registrars must appreciate that as the chief executive of your courts, the buck stops with you in the drive to eliminate inefficiency and any corrupt practice within your jurisdictions,” the CJN said.