Alex Enumah in Abuja
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, yesterday administered oath on 11 newly appointed judges for the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), warning them against any form of indolence.
Muhammad urged judges to always be guided by the laws of the land and remain faithful to their oath of office.
CJN told the new judges to be on top of their game, warning that the judiciary, under his watch, would not condone any form of indolence among judges.
Muhammad noted that as ministers in the temple of justice, judges should always be guided by the laws of the land and remain faithful to their oath of office.
He advised them to detach themselves from judges that have the penchant for sitting whenever it suits their desire.
“You must detach yourselves from those judges that have the penchant for sitting whenever it suits their desire.
“Know it today that your subsequent elevation to the appellate courts will be roundly dependent on, not just the number of judgements you give within a certain time frame, but also the quality and impact of such judgements on our jurisprudence.
“The position you now occupy is seen as the hallmark of integrity and moral rectitude. Your passion for those conducts that may easily fail integrity test must begin to diminish, as all eyes now ply through your demeanor and disposition at a supersonic rate.
“You can always live above board and within your limited resources if you chose to. The choice is at your disposal. The judiciary, as we all know, is not a bed of roses neither is it a stream that flows with milk and honey.
“It is purely for those whose lifestyle recline the bounds of contentment. That is the sole reason why we are the oracles of God on earth.
“Like we always say, many are called, but few are chosen. Your success is not as a result of extraordinary brilliance or industry, but sheer providence, because there are several others out there who can equally accomplish tremendous success if given the opportunity. You must prove your mettle and leave an imprint in the sands of time.
“Your appointment to the High Court bench is a call to service. Never allow your personal ambition, which might not be in tandem with what is required of you, to override your sense of judgement.
“The Nigerian judiciary is more than ever prepared to weed out the bad eggs in our midst. The onus rests squarely on you to always hoist the banner of honesty and integrity.
“Your ascension to this status is not a weapon or licence to intimidate or witch-hunt any existing or imaginary enemies; if at all there is any,” he said.
The swearing-in, which took place at the Supreme Court, was done despite protest by a group in the South-east geopolitical zone against the exclusion of the zone.
The group, the Registered Trustees of Social Justice and Civil Rights Awareness Initiative, had dragged the federal government before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over the appointment of judges for the High Court of the FCT.
The group in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 830/2020, had prayed the court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to include at least one person from the South-east in the list of newly appointed judges of the FCT High Court.
Besides the president, other defendants include: the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Senate and the Federal Character Commission (FCC).
Counsel to the defendants, Mr. Alozie Nmerengwa, further sought the discontinuation of the process of appointing new judges to the FCT High Court until the defendants comply strictly with the Federal Character principles as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.