The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday, decried what he termed the devastating influence of unscrupulous, fraudulent and corrupt persons occupying judicial offices in Nigeria.
The CJN, who spoke at the opening ceremony of an induction course organised for newly appointed judges and kadis at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja yesterday, maintained the Nigerian judiciary is now more prepared than ever before to weed out the bad eggs within its fold.
According to the CJN, “the Nigerian judiciary is now more prepared and more poised than ever before to rid itself of all ugly dirts inflicted on her by unscrupulous, fraudulent and corrupt persons occupying judicial offices in Nigeria.
“The National Judicial Council and the respective states’ Judicial Service Commissions are adequately empowered to remove, with ignominy, any judicial officer or judicial staff that has chosen the path of dishonour to be corrupt and fraudulent.
“The Code of Conduct covers all aspects of all the judicial officer’s life both in and out of court. It must be studied, digested and imbibed by all judicial officers in Nigeria.
“Every judicial officer must abide by the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Judicial Ethics as expounded in the Bangalore principles of Judicial Conduct.
“Any judicial officer that does not abide by the Code of Conduct is on his way out of the Nigerian Judiciary.”
Prompt disposal of cases
Besides, he tasked judges across the federation on prompt disposal of cases, stressing that it is a constitutional requirement.
He said: “A good judicial officer must dispose off matters before him promptly, efficiently and diligently. You must demonstrate due regard for the rights of the parties to have their cases heard and disposed off without unnecessary delay.
“You must devote adequate time for court duties, be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters before you. The administration of justice is a serious business, with important obligations and responsibilities.
“Court cases involve tremendous stress for court users and therefore the courtroom is not a place for judicial officers to try their hands at being comedians”, he added.
Meantime, induction course for newly appointed judges and Kadis is organised annually by the NJI in furtherance of its mandate to facilitate the continuing judicial education fir judicial officers and their staff.
The theme of this year’s course is “Inculcating Judicial Values in Newly Appointed Judicial Officers.”
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice R. P. I. Bozimo noted the fact that the judiciary is expected to serve as the guardian of the rule of law, the embodiment of values and integrity.
She told the new Judges that their primary duty is to interpret the law without bias, affection or ill will.
“You ought to be the epitome of morality, the bastion of the rule of law, the protector of the oppressed and the punisher of evil doers. It is against this background that the general public is interested in what the Judges do in the temple of justice.
“The country and its citizens expect a diligent and effective administration of justice from the Nigerian Judiciary. We cannot afford to fail them.
“As judicial officers you must avoid impropriety. A significant number of judicial officers have been removed from office because the y were found violating the rules and principles enshrined in the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.
“You must shun corruption and all forms of corrupt practices and dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”, Justice Bozimo added. The induction course is expected to last for two weeks.