Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, on Monday urged heads of courts in the country to put in place a structure that will enhance the speedy and fair administration of justice.
Justice Muhammad said judicial independence encompasses not only control and authority over legal decisions devoid of external influences but also an array of administrative powers of courts and judicial institutions.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of a roundtable for heads of courts in Abuja on Monday.
According to the Acting CJN, the courts can be efficient in the discharge of its duties if there is an effective court management system, adding that the National Judicial Policy was formulated by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in 2016 to put in place necessary strategy to achieve this.
“The policy reiterates that strategies shall be put in place to achieve the goals of judicial administration vis-à-vis the inherent power in the courts under section 6(6) of the 1999 constitution.
“The policy directs head of each judiciary to establish an efficient court management structure that will provide tools and support services in order to ensure high performance, productivity, speedy and fair administration of justice which will not influence the independence of the judiciary,” he said.
Justice Muhammad expressed the belief that the Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State Judiciary and Legislature will come up with recommendations that will bring about the full implementation of section 161 of the fourth alteration to the 1999 constitution (As amended).
He accordingly called on each jurisdiction in the country’s judiciary to aspire to implement the guidelines provided by the Judicial Information Technology Policy (JITPO), adding that: “There should be a tireless commitment to improving the quality of justice delivery in courts.
“To this end, you should painstakingly make efforts to improve the process of your courts in ways that will promote confidence in the judicial system. Work hard, treat people fairly and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Rosaline Bozimo, in a welcome address charged heads of court to use wisdom, intelligence and perseverance in handling situations first as head of administration and second, as judicial officer.
She said the roundtable was to, among other things, avail heads of courts the opportunity to exchange ideas and proffer solutions to the common challenges facing various jurisdictions.
The NJI boss urged participants to ensure that all judicial officers and court staff adhere strictly to their respective code of conduct.