The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has urged judges in the country to shun acts capable of embarrassing the Judiciary and the nation.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has urged judges in the country to shun acts capable of embarrassing the judiciary and the nation.
Justice Onnoghen also urged Nigerians to pray for the judiciary because it serves to protect the nation’s unity and ensure a peaceful society.
He spoke Saturday in Abuja at the swearing-in of Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati as the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
“Avoid things that will embarrass the judiciary and embarrass you, embarrass the country and your family," Justice Onnoghen said.
“I know you have been trying your best in that direction, please sustain the effort. Don’t get blackmailed. Don’t get intimidated. People will talk."
“Obviously, in this society, nobody loses a case, because the law is against him. He loses the case because the judge does not like his face; the judge is this, the judge is that. But, the judge must be there, and that judge happens to be you,” he said.
Justice Onnoghen also urged judges to be fair and always be guided by the law and constitution.
He assured that the judiciary will protect and support judges, who abide by their oath of office and the provisions of the constitution and the law.
“Justice Kafarati and other judicial officers, you are particularly reminded today of your oath, which you have taken. Be guided always by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law," Justice Onnoghen said.
“When you do that and continue to do that, you will have no problem. That will ensure justice to all and sundry because there is nothing greater than the rule of law.
“The scale you wield and the sword is mighty. When once you come to the conclusion that this side weighs more than that, you have to apply the legal truth, no matter whose ox is gored."
“That is the only way you can ensure justice to all. That is the only way by which the judicial powers of this nation can be properly harnessed and enforced."
“That is the only way we can ensure unity because the sense of injustice breeds disunity. And it is our responsibility to ensure that we return to the good old days, we return to a Judiciary that commands respect"
“The perception will always be there because you don’t strive to satisfy everybody because if you do that, you would fail. If you do that, you will be a hypocrite. And a judicial officer is not a hypocrite."
“It is either the man is right or wrong. Your duty is to say who is right or who is wrong. Stick to that. That is the only way to which we can go back home and sleep and, in fact, snore,” the CJN said.
He urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the Judiciary, “because that is the only way our efforts can be sustained and we can weather the storm.
“The judicial officers should rest assured that once you are guided by the Constitution and the law, you have the full support of the judiciary.”
Justice Onnoghen praised the retiring Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for his contribution to country’s jurisprudence and service to the judiciary and the nation.
He urged judges of the court to cooperate with Justice Kafarati to enable to improve on the court’s performance.
Justice Kafarati, 62 years, from Kwami in Gombe State, takes over from Justice Auta, who tenure ends at 12 mid night on September 16.
Justice Kafarati will continue to function in an acting capacity until his nomination by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and his nomination confirmed by the President and subsequently by the Senate, as provided in Section 250(1) of the Constitution.
Section 250 (1) provides: “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of the Federal High Court shall be made by the President on the advice of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.”