2023: Don't be used, dumped by politicians, CJN warns judges - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, November 28, 2022

2023: Don't be used, dumped by politicians, CJN warns judges

...says 6, 884 appeals, 10, 000 motions pending before the Supreme Court

By Editor

With 90 days to the general elections, The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Monday, warned judicial officers to avoid politicians he said may be on the prowl to use and dump them.

The CJN, who spoke at a special session the Supreme Court held to mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year, said the National Judicial Council, NJC, would not hesitate to wield the big stick against any judge that is found to have acted in breach of the judicial oath. 

Justice Ariwoola maintained that the political season was a period for judges across the various strata of courts to "be on guard and be the master of the game".

He decried what he termed as "high calibre crimes" in the country, saying "never in the history of Nigeria have we experienced such before". 

He said: "Security of lives and property can no longer be guaranteed; and as this is happening, so are cases streaming freely into the courts for adjudication. 

"That has made the task before us more daunting. No one can afford to sit on the fence at this crucial point we have found ourselves. 

"To our fellow judicial officers across the various strata of courts, I urge you to be on guard and be the master of the game. You cannot afford to put up any lackadaisical attitude at this crucial period of our national history. 

"Some politicians may be on the prowl looking for who to entrap in their usual dragnet of political stratagem. You must not fall for it; and you must not allow yourselves to be used, else the sledge hammer of justice will descend heavily on you. 

"Always remember that the moment the food in the clean bowl is finished, the status of the bowl changes to ‘dirty.’

 "Don’t allow anyone to use and dump you. Let your conscience be your guide and guard. You must apply the law rightly on all matters that come before Your Lordships. 

"You should always see yourselves as being eminently qualified to take charge of every situation or challenge that confronts you. Don’t allow the soft spot in you that may easily fall for material lust blight your emotions and power of resistance. 

"As judicial officers, we must imbibe the culture of conservatism and live a life of solitude to avoid any company or communication that will corrupt our good manners and violate our judicial oath".

The CJN disclosed that between October 2021 and September 2022, a total number of 3,563 convictions were made through the collaborative effort of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee, COTRIMCO, led by a retired Justice of the apex court, Suleiman Galadima.

He said there were equally large number of forfeited cash and non-cash recoveries made within the period. 

"Also, within the window offered by the 2021/2022 legal year, the Supreme Court entertained a total number of 1,764 cases, comprising of motions and appeals. Out of these, we heard 816 Civil, 370 Criminal and 16 Political matters, making a total of 1,202 motions.

"Similarly, the court considered a total number of 562 Appeals, comprising of 341 Civil, 186 Criminal, and 35 Political. A total number of 154 Judgments were delivered in the year. 

"Our pending (backlog) Civil Appeals are 4,741 while the number of pending (backlog) Criminal Appeals is 1,392. On the other hand, we have 751 moribund Appeals for disposal. That brings the total number of pending (backlog) Appeals in this Honourable Court to 6,884. 

"Out of the 4,741 Appeals in the Court’s docket, 1,495 have briefs filed and exchanged and are ready for hearing; whereas, the remaining 3,246 appeals are having about 10,000 motions, with some contentious and others innocuous in nature.

"As for the pending 1,392 Criminal Appeals, 461 already had briefs filed and exchanged and are ready for hearing.

"The remaining 931 appeals have about 2,000 different motions for hearing to determine their eligibility for hearing.

"However, the identified 751 moribund appeals are to be disposed of for non-compliance with the Supreme Court Rules, i.e. Order 8 Rule 8", the CJN added.

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