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Edo, Ondo polls: Adjudicate according to law, CJN warns judges ahead litigations

 

Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has charged the newly sworn-in judges of the Appeal Court to hear all matters that come before them and adjudicate according to the laws of the land. 

Ariwoola, who presided over the swearing-in ceremony gave the charge against the backdrop of litigations that might crop up after the Ondo and Edo states governorship elections billed for September and November this year.

The CJN said: “In the next couple of months, we shall be having two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, respectively.

“As usual, the courts will be besieged with plethora of petitions. It is our statutory duty to hear all matters that come before us and adjudicate according to the laws of the land.”

At the inauguration ceremony performed at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the CJN further charged the new Justices to be upright in their justice delivery to Nigerians without fear or favour. 

The CJN said ‘My Lords, you have just taken the oath to pledge your allegiance to the dictates of the Almighty God and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

“It is a solemn pledge and commitment to good conduct in the course of your adjudication, especially as senior judicial officers in the appellate court. 

‘The number of Justices that we have just sworn-in today is quite unprecedented in the recent history of the Court of Appeal. The last time we had a large number like this was on Monday, 28 June, 2021, when 18 Justices were sworn-in. That was preceded by that of Monday, 5th November,2012 when 12 Justices were inaugurated.

“Today’s ceremony is an indication of the perilous times that we are currently in, which has resulted in an upsurge in litigation. 

“Several unfathomable crimes are being committed in the country, aside from the usual political matters that have made litigations to go on alarming rise. 

“No Court in the land is spared of this  litigation deluge, as it were. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever increasing in response tO the challenges of the time. 

“This underscores the tact that Nigeria is fast emerging as a frontline crime-infested country that we all have to urgently curtail.

“The enormous task of cleaning the Augean stable rests squarely on Your Lordships. So, you must hastily fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on. In other words, you should hit the ground speeding at a supersonic velocity; and not just running. 

“You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the sprawling community of litigants. As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity. You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court ot Appeal.

“In the next couple of months, we shall be having two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, respectively. As usual, the courts will be besieged with plethora of petitions. It is our statutory duty to hear all matters that come before us and adjudicate according to the laws of the land. 

“We must not falter; and we must not tread the path of infamy. Yes, it is true that we cannot please everyone through our actions and work, but with the right application of the law and the Constitution of the land, which we all have collectively pledged to uphold, we can go a long way to do those things that our conscience will be very proud of; and the generality of the Nigerian citizens will equally be happy about.

“Every position we attain in life always avails us that unique opportunity to do something novel and impactful, especially, if there was any previous act of wrongdoing or misapplication of discretion. 

“With Your Lordships’ elevation to the higher Bench today, you have to be very mindful of the enormous confidence the public is now reposing in you vis-a-vis their expectations. 

“Like we often say, to whom much Is given, much is expected. Your Lordships must not rest on your oars, as the onus now lies more heavily on you to discharge your judicial duties more dispassionately, discretionally and transparently. 

“So, you must, individually and collectively, guide your loins to do more to earn lasting trust and integrity. Your conduct and disposition must tally with the yearnings and aspirations of the generality of the citizenry.

“I have made it known at different fora that we have been treated to an unpalatable cocktail ot misleading and conflicting judgments as well as frivolous interlocutory orders emanating from courts of coordinate jurisdictions, which have literally attempted to make a mockery of our judicial system and flagrantly desecrate the revered Temple of Justice. 

“Several cases of such abound across the length and breadth of the country. This is, largely, an embarrassment to our jurisprudence, and we win never handle it with levity. Punitive measures must definitely be meted out to such erring Judges. 

“We have already activated the process of reining-in such errant judges with a view to making them face the consequence of their despicable and odious conduct”, the CJN said.