By Olalekan Awojodu
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad Monday warned judges not to involved in any forms of gratification in the discharge of their judicial duties.
The CJN also used the occasion to give judges the nod to adjudicate on cases through online platforms, harping on the need for quick justice delivery.
The CJN said this while speaking at the virtual opening ceremony of the Induction Course for newly appointed judges and Khadis, organized by the National Judicial Institute, NJI.
He noted however that while adjudicating on matters online, Judges must pay strict adherence to dictates of the law.
According to him, current international and national discourse bordering on Covid-19 brought lots of activities to its knee and occasioned delay in justice delivery.
He said: “As Judicial Officers saddled with the responsibility of adjudicating on matters in the temple of justice, I must not fail to mention that your actions and inaction within and outside the court premises must conform to the dictates of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, you are also bound by the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as spelt out in the fifth schedule of the establishment and maintenance of a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business, and to ensure that the actions and behavior of public officers kowtow highest standards of public morality and accountability,” the CJN stated.
On the criticism leveled against the judiciary over persistent delays in the administration of justice, bias and wrong applications of laws,he noted that litigants and court users often frown at the way services are rendered.
On the way out, he observed that better understanding of the current trends in justice administration will help in appraising and curbing waste of judicial time and resources, thereby ensuring that justice delivery is efficient and proactive.
He then enjoined new judges to endeavor to obtain a good understanding of their operating environment so as to avoid possible pitfalls and challenges when deciding matters brought before them.
In her welcome address at the induction ceremony, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice Rosaline Bozimo (rtd), described the theme of the Induction Course; ‘Inculcating Judicial Excellence in the Newly Appointed Judicial Officers’, as apt, noting that the course is aimed at adequately equipping new Judicial Officers for the challenges on the higher bench regarding the task of adjudication and other ancillary issues.
She said, “Let me use this medium to caution you to refrain and spurn all forms of corrupt practices bearing in mind the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers and the oath of office which you have sworn to.
Speaking further, Bozimo added: “It is my firm belief that you will continue to adhere to this admonition; in the same vein, this course will aid you in the proper application of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in the discharge of your duties; and be assured that the institute will be more than willing to conduct workshops that will aid you in the discharge of your duties,”