The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has urged lawyers and litigants to refrain from writing petitions to the National Judicial Council (NJC) over court decisions.
Mohammed gave the charge in Abuja on Thursday while delivering a speech at the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Amiru Sanusi as Justice of the Supreme Court.
The CJN described the development as a worrisome trend which tended to question the integrity of the courts, added that the NJC was not a place for venting dissatisfaction with court decisions.
“Some litigants and their counsel no longer avail themselves of appropriate judicial processes, but would rather petition to the Council.
“A most worrisome trend has begun to emerge where petitions are now written to the NJC against even the decisions of the Supreme Court.
“I must emphasize that the National Judicial Council is not a venue for venting dissatisfaction with the decisions of the courts,” he said.
The CJN commended Justice Sanusi for being the first Supreme Court Justice to be appointed under the 2014 revised NJC guidelines for the appointment of judicial officers.
He noted that the guidelines provided a mechanism that would ensure that only fit and proper persons and the most intellectually astute, morally sound, meritorious and deserving candidates are appointed as judges of the courts.
The Nigerian judiciary, he said, had entered a new era, whereby ”the eligibility of a candidate for appointment to the Bench would no longer be based on nepotism, familial or fraternal connections.”
Justice Mohammed, therefore, urged the new Supreme Court Justice to be steadfast in the discharge of his duties and emulate other justices by striving to foster the supremacy of the Rule of Law.
”Take it as an oath of fidelity, an affirmation of incorruptible commitment and a promise to the Almighty to continue to dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” he said.
He said that the Nigerian judiciary, being the third arm of the government, was resolute in its commitment to performing its statutory role as stipulated in the Constitution.
The CJN urged Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that the nation was operating a constitutional democracy, which clearly prescribed the powers given to each arm of government.