By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NIJ), Justice Rosaline Bozimo, yesterday charged court workers in the country to avoid corrupt and other unethical practices in the discharge of their lawful duties.
Onnoghen, while stressing that he would not hesitate to wield the big stick over anyone found culpable of corrupt and unethical conducts, said such negative conduct impedes on the effective running of the courts and impacts on effective justice delivery.
In the same vein, the NJI administrator said corrupt practices endanger the effectiveness of the court system.
Both Onnoghen and Bozimo stated this at a workshop organised by NJI for courtâ€™s support staff, including secretaries, registrars, court clerks, protocol officers, bailiffs and process servers in Abuja.
Onnoghen, in his remarks, urged participants to be more committed to duty and refrain from allowing their personal interests to interfere in the performance of the official duties.
The CJN, who was represented by Bozimo, observed that the role of court staff now exceeds the management of court and its records; it now includes accountability, impartiality and uprightness, a development that requires them to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.
He urged them to continue to improve on their skills, including being proficient in the application of information and communication technologies to courtâ€™s operations.
â€œIt is important to mention that this category of support staff in the judiciary is indispensable in the administration of justice.
â€œTherefore, I would like to point out that your attitude and conduct towards court users must be that of responsibility and accountability in order to boost public confidence in the judiciary.
â€œAs officers in charge of the day-to-day running of the court, it is imperative that you display high ethical standard in your behaviour and be guided by the code of conduct for court employees.
â€œIt is imperative also for you all to shun all form of corruption and its tendencies. Corruption has no place in the judiciary. The big stick shall spare no one, thus commitment to duty and honesty should be your watch word,â€ the CJN added.
In her welcome address, Bozimo said the workshop was intended to enhance the capacity of this category of court staff as part of efforts to ensure improved justice delivery.
Bozimo, whose speech was read by NJIâ€™s Secretary, Abubakar Maidama, also warned participants against unethical conduct in view of their importance to courtâ€™s operations and the integrity of the court system.
She said: â€œYou must, at all times, protect the interest of the court and shun all forms of corrupt practices for the interest of integrity of the judiciary.
â€œYour role is not only supportive, but also complementary to that of the judicial officers (judges and justices).â€ The theme of the one-week workshop is â€˜Enhancing the operational capacity of the judiciary staffâ€™.