By Olalekan Awojodu
“The Nigerian Judiciary must sustain the confidence reposed in it by the public if its to continue to remain relevant as a public institution”, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, SAN has charged all heads of the courts in the country.
Justice Muhammad also stressed the need for all stakeholders to move in line with contemporary trends, saying the court cannot afford to be left behind.
The CJN stated this on Thursday while delivering a keynote address at the virtual opening ceremony of the roundtable for heads of courts held at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), in Abuja.
The roundtable, which was the first –ever virtual version in the pandemic era, is themed: “Towards Effective Court Administration”.
In his address, CJN Muhammad observed that despite challenges ranging from backlog of cases, delayed hearings, poor funding of the courts, which had been an uphill task in the administration of Nigerian courts, the sector has continued to make incremental progress in the course of playing its constitutional role.
“He said, “The climb to the achievement of effective court administration in Nigeria has just become a lot steeper and a little more daunting, but this challenge is not insurmountable,”
The CJN then charged all heads of courts on the need to be proactive in pursuit of the discovery and implementation of innovative ways of court administration.
Earlier in her welcome address, the administrator of the institute, Justice Rosaline Patricia Bozimo equally reiterated that the judiciary must come to terms with the expectation of the general populace and the international community, saying they must leverage on information technology and global best practices in the conduct of business of the courts.
“This forum is designed to create an avenue for the head of courts in administrative positions to be equipped with the requisite administrative skill aimed at effective justice delivery,” Bozimo said.
Speaking further, the NJI administrator said even though the judiciary has experienced an exponential increase in the number and complexity of cases before them, it has been able to meet up with expectations through successive policy reforms aimed at curtailing delay in justice dispensation.
“The desire to ensure that our criminal justice sector is at par with global best practices remains a task that all stakeholders must close ranks to tackle, as it is the desire of Nigerians that this hydra-headed monster of delay in criminal trials be controlled,” the administrator added.