Avoid unethical conduct or delay cases in court, CJN tells Judges

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By Kenneth Atavti 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Tuesday, warned judicial officers in the country not to engage in unethical conducts that could expose the judiciary to ridicule.

He said there was need for judges not to compromise or be distracted from the pursuit of the rule of law and their adjudicatory duties.

The CJN, who spoke during the opening ceremony of a Hybrid Refresher Course for judicial officers of the Superior Courts of record, however, decried what he termed as incessant and flagrant disobedience to both the Constitution and court judgements.

He noted that though the rule of law and the separation of powers required that each arm of government should be independent, “the quest for an efficient and effective justice delivery for the people makes it expedient that the arms of government work in harmonious relationship.”

According to the CJN, “that is one of the ways by which commitments by institutions of justice delivery and persons running them can sustain the confidence and trust of the citizens.”

He said: “Additionally, I am further constrained to add that an affirmation of judicial commitments to justice delivery raises other equally important matters, namely: incessant and flagrant violation or refusal to comply with the Constitution and extant provisions of the law, wilful disobedience to court orders and judgements as well as the fast growing prejudicial and injurious tendencies or practice of discussing and possibly predetermining the decisions in on-going court cases on television or other audio-visual media platforms.

“I must also include the need for judicial officers not to compromise or be distracted from the pursuit of the rule of law and their adjudicatory duties, neither should you be engaged or be seen to be engaged in unethical conduct.

“I urge you to remain focused and determined in carrying out your responsibilities as judicial officers.

“I believe that all citizens whether in or outside of government owe it a duty to obey, defend, protect and jealously guard the provisions of the Constitution, that being the organic law of our dear country.

“This must not be seen as a notion or rhetoric, but reality and I implore every one especially those concerned to reconsider their attitudes on these matters with the fear of God, the interest of justice and the rule of law,” the CJN added.

He stressed that discussions and recommendations from the course must include best practice approaches for avoiding delay in dispensing justice and thereby reinforcing public confidence and trust in the judiciary.

In his remarks, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, NJI, Justice Salisu Garba, said the essence of the Refresher Course was to broaden and expose judicial officers of the Superior Courts of Record to more practical aspects of their Judicial functions.

He said the Refresher Course, which has the theme: ‘Reaffirming Judicial Commitments to Justice Delivery and Modernizing Judicial Practices and Procedures,’ would help judges to re-evaluate best approaches to improve their performance on the bench.

Justice Garba disclosed that among resource persons expected at the program, included the Senate President, Mr. Godswill Akpabio.