By Kenneth Atavti
President Bola Tinubu has said that the judiciary alone can build the confidence of both local and international investors to bring in investments into country.
The president made the declaration on Monday in Abuja while declaring open the 2023 All Nigeria Judges Conference of the Superior Courts organised by the National Judicial Institute, NJI.
The president who was represented by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, said the economic transformation of Nigeria could not be left to only the executive arm of government.
“Our economic transformation is not just in the hands of the executive alone, the judiciary has a significant role to play in this transformation journey.
“It is the judiciary alone that can build the confidence of investors that commercial disputes can be resolved fairly and speedily in manner that preserves and improves their investment.
“Such a realisation alone will significantly improve our position to be an investment destination,’’ the president said.
While reiterating his commitment to ensuring absolute independence of the judiciary, the president also said that he had directed that the issue of the upward review of remuneration of judicial officers be revisited.
“I have directed the Revenue Mobilsation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to review its previous unacceptable recommendation of 114 per cent increase in the remuneration of judicial officers.
“I have asked them to come up with a more realistic rate that will reflect the present economic realities and I am optimistic that the process will be concluded soon.’’
President Tinubu also appealed that legal practitioners in private practice who had distinguished themselves should be considered for appointment to the appellate courts.
“ I am of the strong view that in order to further strengthen our appellate courts, qualified, experienced and diligent private legal practitioners should be considered for appointment to both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
“I believe that Nigeria will stand to benefit a lot from these appointments,’’ he said.
Delivering a keynote address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola expressed hope that the long anticipated independence of the judiciary would be achieved during President Tinubu’s tenure.
“I am hopeful that this 2023 All Nigerian Judges’ Conference, which is the first since the commencement of this new administration will come with an improved disposition towards the welfare of the judiciary.
“This is especially as it pertains to the protracted issue of its independence as well as a strong desire to foster healthy and productive relationships among all three arms.’’
The CJN who doubles as the Chairman, Board of Governors, National Judicial Institute, charged the judges on the need to remain unwavering in their commitment to seeing that in all cases, justice should not only be done but seen to be done.
“We must distance ourselves from all forms of indiscretions and ventures capable of bringing the judiciary to disrepute,’’ the CJN said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Mr Nyesom Wike said that the FCT was committed to providing an environment conducive to the judiciary in dispensing justice.
According to him, I am pleased to report that efforts are underway to enhance the infrastructure of court facilities, improve the welfare of judicial officers and streamline administrative processes to reduce unnecessary delays.
`The aim is to create an environment that enhances the delivery of justice without being encumbered.