Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, has reaffirmed that the judiciary under his leadership remains committed to the ongoing fight against corruption and other social vices bedevilling the country.
To demonstrate the commitment, Justice Onnoghen said judges and judicial officers shall perform their statutory functions in line with their oath of office and constitutional provisions.
The CJN who spoke at the 33 Annual Judges Conference of the Federal High Court in Abuja, however, pleaded for adequate funding of the judiciary to enable it cope with the mounting challenges.
Onnoghen, whose address was read by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, specifically called for greater attention to the Federal High Court being one of the most strategic and significant arms of the judiciary.
He disclosed that the judges conference was on avenue for judges to appraise past events and prepare for fresh challenges and that a new reform that will enhance the performance of the judiciary will soon be unfolded by his office.
Justice Onnoghen praised the outgoing Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for upholding and sustaining the tradition of the court rancour free.
He expressed optimism that the incoming Chief Judge that will take over from Justice Auta will sustain the achievements of the court.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Justice Auta, said this yearâ€™s conference was held in Abuja because of its importance to him, being the last one he is attending in his capacity as the chief judge of the court.
Justice Auta told the gathering that the tradition of moving the conference round the country was not jettisoned due to financial or other factors but to afford him the opportunity of meeting his friends and well wishers who ordinarily will not wish to attend the conference outside Abuja.
â€œThis yearâ€™s judges conference is a unique one to me as earlier stated as it will afford me the opportunity to bid you all farewell as I retire after a successful judicial career.
â€œMy career in this court and my appointment as the chief judge has been roundly successful because of the caliber of people on the bench as well as the supporting staff,â€ he said.
Justice Auta used the occasion to thank the Chief Justice of Nigeria for his leadership qualities and for his love in particular to the Federal High Court.
He noted with joy that the CJN has not hidden his love for the Federal High Court since he assumed office as CJN and Chairman National Judicial Council (NJC).
Justice Auta appealed to judicial officers in the country and stakeholders in the judiciary sector to give their maximum support to the CJN to enable him carry the judiciary to its highest level of respect and independence.
The weeklong conference is been attended by all judges in the 37 divisions of the Federal High Court across the country.