By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has charged judges in the country to do away with customs that are not in tandem with natural justice, equity and good conscience as part of protecting the human rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution.
Muhammad, who noted that it is only the judiciary as an arm of government that is vested with such powers, called on judicial officers to deepen their knowledge in the customary laws of the various communities in order to do justice in the cases brought before them.
The acting CJN gave the charge Monday at the opening ceremony of the National Workshop for Area/Sharia/Customary Court judges, which held at the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
“Let me urge the participants to ensure the protection of human rights by finding and giving expression to the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. In this regard, customs which are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience must be outlawed, as the judiciary is the only arm of government vested with such powers,” he said.
While disclosing that the Nigerian judiciary contends with over 250 language groups, with different customs and cultures, the acting CJN said the judges would do well to live above board in the discharge of their duties.
To this end, he enjoined them to dispense justice without fear or favour, adding that: “Your action and inaction, within and outside the temple of justice must always be in consonance with the dictates of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, as this will further guarantee that justice is served to all manners of persons that visit your courts.”
Muhammad, however, called on the state governments across the federation to increase their support to all courts within their jurisdiction, since these courts are the ones who handle most of the cases at the grassroots level.
He argued that such support if provided will enhance efficient service delivery in the justice sector.
In a welcome address, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Roselyne Bozimo, said the workshop was designed to avail judges of the lower court the opportunity to rub minds and crossfertilise ideas in different areas of law.
Bozimo said the theme of the workshop, “Improving the Quality of Justice Delivery in the Lower Courts” is imperative and relevant, adding that it is tailored at strengthening and repositioning the Nigerian judiciary to effectively perform its statutory role as well as improve on the quality of justice delivery in the country.
She however commended the lower courts for their speedy and expeditious resolution of cases brought before them.