RHETORICAL it may seem, but also reassuring, when Nigeria’s Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad, Tuesday, said that assessment and punitive mechanism would be put in place to rid Nigerian judiciary of “bad eggs”. This was not the first time, strong and firm words of riding the judiciary of bad eggs were coming from the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Tanko Muhammad was swearing-in Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, as the substantive Chief Judge of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, when he gave the assurance. Nigerian judiciary, is noted to be, ridiculously, in bad shape in justice delivery. It has earned public reputation of a “judiciary of the highest bidder”, and riddled with corrupt.
“The legal profession is the building under which we are sheltered. If we fold our hands and watch others destroy it or we participate in the destruction, it will collapse on us. We will then have no roof over our heads. May God forbid!
“We must not only do self-assessment; we also need self-cleansing. All hands must, therefore, be on deck from both the Bar and the Bench to rid the legal profession of bad eggs”, Justice Tanko Muhammad stated.
He recalled warning judges, to refrain from unwholesome practices that could erode public confidence in the administration of justice in the country. The CJN said the judiciary cannot take the lead when “our courts issue ex-parte orders recklessly”.
And added: “We cannot take the lead when many litigants with support of their counsel engage in forum shopping. We cannot take the lead when counsel file a case before a court that they know lacks jurisdiction and the Judge proceeds to hear the case.
“We cannot take the lead when counsel files frivolous cases in our courts just for nuisance value or to buy time. No society can afford to discard administration of justice”, when administration of justice is the bedrock of, not only democratic or civilised societies, but also extends beyond the borders of civilised nations.
Justice Tanko Muhammad said “There is no regime in any country that can operate without a judiciary. No matter how primitive a society is, it must have its own mechanism for resolution of its disputes. Otherwise, that society will drift into anarchy, self-destruction and extinction”.
The CJN reminded the sworn-in Federal Capital High Court Chief Justice Baba Yusuf: “As head of court, your burden becomes heavier. You should, therefore, take charge and ensure that you are just and fair to your brother Judges, the management, staff, and most importantly to the litigants”.