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Over 100,000 cases pending in Federal High Court, CJ reveals

By Paschal Njoku on 19/09/2018

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•Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen
•Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

Justice Adamu Abdul-Kafarati, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, has disclosed that over 100,000 cases were pending at the court.

Justice Kafarati stated this in his address at the opening of the 34th annual judges’ conference in Abuja, on Tuesday.

However, the Chief Judge expressed optimism that the cases could be dispensed with to the nearest minimum with the appointment of more judicial officers.

“It is hoped that the eventual appointment of 9 new judges to the Federal High Court bench in June this year will help in disposing of over 100,000 cases pending in our courts around the country,” Justice Kafarati stated.

He added: “It is our hope that more judges would be appointed in the course of this administration to further reduce the ever-increasing workload.”

As the 2019 general elections approach, the Chief Judge admonished judges to be careful in adjudicating on political matters in order not to be caught napping by politicians.

“It is important that extra care is taken in handling these political cases because of their nature.

“Actions or inactions by a judge, no matter how honestly done, is capable of misinterpretation.

“It is, therefore, necessary and important that we guard our loins in order not to be caught unawares,” the Chief Judge advised.

He restated his warning to judges, particularly the new judicial officers, never to grant ex parte orders unless in very exceptional cases.

He believed that it was better to hear all sides before a decision was taken so that there would be less controversy in the adjudication process.

Earlier, he said the purpose of the conference was to take stock and appraise judicial functions in the previous year and to resolve knotty issues which might have arisen after the previous legal year.

Speaking at the conference, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, urged judges to shun corrupt acts in the discharge of their judicial functions.

Onnoghen advised them to decide political cases purely on merit.

The CJN charged the judges, through their judgments, to ensure that democracy was enthroned in the country.

More so, Onnoghen tasked judges to perform their judicial functions in line with the provisions of section 251 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, adding that they must rise to the coming challenges by cleaning up their houses and dumping the toga of corruption.

He reiterated his belief that respect for the rule of law was pivotal to the survival of democracy.

In addition, Onnoghen charged judges to carry out their judicial functions expeditiously and stem the tide of bad governance.

Represented by Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, the CJN remarked that with the forthcoming 2019 general elections, courts would be flooded with litigation and, as such, judges as umpire, must stamp out corruption in all ramifications in the cases that would be assigned to them.

“Let me emphasise that this judges’ annual conference is a stock-taking event, especially now that tempo of political activities will be on the increase, we as judges must do everything to nurture democracy by cleaning up our house and dumping the toga of corruption.

“In the discharge of our functions, we must strive to steer the nation to transparency and good governance and stem the tide of bad governance by avoiding external influence in our justice delivery.

“In the next few months, court will be flooded with litigation and as judicial officers, we must resolve all political issues on merit, devoid of external influence,” he said.

Sourced from a Daily Independent

Source News Express

Posted 19/09/2018 11:38:10 AM


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