President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on Judges to maintain a high level of honesty and integrity.
This was just as he added that lawyers are responsible for delay in court cases. Buhari stated this in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2021 biennial All Judges Conference organised by the Nigerian Judicial Institute.
The President, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the conference is coming at a very crucial time; a time when Nigeria, along with the rest of the world is dealing with the massive socio-economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him: “As My Lords may recall, in my 2019 address to this gathering, I stressed the need for implementation of measures that will ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the country through the dual-track of removing administrative bottlenecks in the judicial process and adopting modern time-saving technology. “Lessons learned during this difficult period of the pandemic have provided measures for achieving both goals. We have seen how the Judiciary has risen to the challenge.
Practice Directions were issued by several courts for remote hearing of cases, electronic filing of court processes, service of hearing notices via email addresses and mobile phone numbers of counsel, and e-payment of filing fees; with relevant devices installed.”
In his own remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad lamented the lack of financial independence of the judiciary noting that: “It may be difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective in a democracy where it remains financially tied to the Executive.”
According to him, the issue of judiciary funding has continued to pose a serious challenge to the institution. The CJN, who scored the judiciary very high in the discharge of its function sargued that but for the intervention of the judiciary Nigeria’s democracy would have been truncated.
He, however, admonished judges to desist from all negative conducts including indiscriminate granting of ex-parte orders that have portrayed the judiciary in bad light.