Corrupt Judge Disaster to the Nation – CJN

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen on Monday described a corrupt judge as not only a disgrace to the judiciary but, a disaster to the course of justice and the nation as a whole.
The CJN who was speaking on the need for judicial officers to always live above board, noted that corruption should not be seen only as an act of bribe taking but every other action a judge takes to pervert justice.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Refresher Course for Judges and Kadis, held at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja, Monday,
“My lords, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you will all agree with me that a corrupt Judge is not only a disgrace to the Bench and the noble profession, but also a disaster to the course of justice and the nation.
“I must not fail to emphasis here that my definition of corruption is not limited to bribe-taking, but includes the giving of judgements or orders based on any consideration other than legal merit”, he said.
While noting that the NJC through its new reforms has commenced process of ridding the judiciary of those he described as bad eggs, Onnoghen stressed that, the prestige of the Judiciary is an essential part of Nigeria’s system of government where the judiciary functions independently.
He disclosed further that part of the reforms he initiated were aimed at tackling the worrisome issue of delay in justice delivery in the country, adding that Nigeria would soon begin to reap its fruits.
“I am confident that in due course of time, our efforts to rid the judiciary of questionable characters shall yield results.
The designation of special courts to handle corruption cases is also a step in the right direction as lingering corruption cases will be expeditiously dispensed with. It will no longer be business as usual”, he said.
“The National Judicial Council however, will continually ensure, through rigorous screening and painstaking appointment procedures, that the best materials, in terms of learning and character, get appointed to the Bench”, he added.
The CJN however used the occasion to call on governments, particularly at the state level to take the issue of funding seriously to ensure success of the reforms in the sector.
He disclosed that while the Judiciary at the federal level enjoys full financial independence, the same cannot be said of the state judiciaries.
“The funding of the Judiciary is crucial as it is the most important index for assessing its independence.
The issue of adequate funding at the state level is one of the greatest challenges confronting the Judiciary of this nation.
“It is imperative that the applicable provisions of the 1999 constitution be duly amended to solve problems of State judiciaries. It is my hope that within the limits of our limited resources, the judiciary will continuously strive to achieve its constitutional mandate”, he stated.
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice R.P.I. Bozimo, said the theme of this year’s course: “Enhancing the Quality of Judicial Services”, was imperative and relevant, saying it strives to reposition the Nigerian Judiciary to effectively perform its statutory role and improve on the services rendered to litigants and the public at large.
“My lords, in order to remain relevant in this ever evolving judicial landscape, the courts must not only be seen to be just, but must provide quality judicial services. In this regard, we must not fail in ensuring that the common man can approach the courts with confidence knowing that access to justice is for all citizens”, she said.
Justice Bozimo, however, enjoined the judicial officers to ensure the speedy and expeditious resolution of cases before them.

Author: News Editor

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