•Urges judges to redouble efforts, serve justice with fear of God
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has lamented the rise in political cases in the country, observing that it was already affecting virtually all courts in the country.
The CJN, who saw the development as a reflection of the times in the country, however, called on his colleagues to be up and doing and not disappoint the people.
Speaking yesterday during the swearing-in ceremony of nine newly appointed justices of the Court of Appeal, he said, “Today’s ceremony is an indication of the times that we are currently in. Several novel crimes are being committed in the country that have now made litigations to go on a steady rise.
“Political cases, especially, are taking a monumental toll on our dockets. Indeed, the times we are in are not pleasant, to say the least. No court in the land is spared of this. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever rising in response to the challenges of the time.”
Observing that the development has further confirmed claims that Nigeria continuously ranked among the most litigious countries in the world, he urged the people to imbibe the culture of less litigation and more of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, so that the courts could be freed of unnecessary burden and depletion of both human and material resources.
The CJN, therefore, charged the justices, “to fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on. You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants. As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity.
“You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court of Appeal so that you can subsequently earn an elevation to the Supreme Court to further actualise your dreams.
“I congratulate you all for your well-deserved appointments and wish you the best that you can achieve in these strategic positions you now occupy.”
The new Justices included Hannatu Laja-Balogun from Kaduna State, who was appointed a High Court Judge on May 24, 1999; Binta Zubairu also from Kaduna State and appointed a High Court Judge on October 31, 2001.
Others were Peter Obiora from Anambra State, became a High Court Judge on January 17, 2005; Okon Abang from Akwa Ibom State, appointed a High Court Judge on June 22, 2009; Asma’u Mainoma from the Federal Capital Territory, appointed High Court Judge on February 1, 2013; Lateef Ganiyu from Oyo State, became a High Court Judge on June 26, 2014; and Jane Iyang from Cross River State, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on February 12, 2015.
The rest were Hadiza Shagari from Sokoto State, who was elevated to the High Court Bench on February 12, 2015; and Paul Bassi from Borno State, appointed to the High Court on July 14, 2017.