By Olalekan Awojodu
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Monday warned that there are novel crimes being committed within the Nigerian society, charging judges to constantly be on their toes to respond to the new challenges.
The CJN gave the warning on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony for the newly appointed eighteen (18) Justices of the Court of Appeal which held at the main Courtroom of the Supreme Court.
Justice Mohammed said: “Several novel crimes are being committed in the country and we are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever rising in response to the challenges of the time that we are currently in which has now made litigation to go on a steady rise. No court in the land is spared of this”.
Gavel International reports that the number of Justices that were sworn-in is the highest in the recent history of the Court of Appeal. The last time the court witnessed such numbers was in 2012 when 12 Justices were sworn-in.
At the ceremony, the CJN reminded the new Justices that the oath they took was meant to pledge their allegiance to the dictates of the Almighty God, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and their conscience, adding that it was a solemn pledge.
The CJN further implore them to be committed, imbibe good conduct in the course of adjudication and conduct all their affairs within the ambit of the law.
“The tempo and rate of public assessment of your conduct and disposition will now assume astronomical rise, I therefore urge you to justify your elevation to the apex court.
“Many high profile cases would definitely come to you on appeal; and they may likely come in company of some juicy, irresistible temptations, but I am making it clear to you now that you must flee from such disguised danger.
“You must, against all odds, conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you.
“Know that your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame in life, hence the need for you to flee from temptations and keep your heads high above the murky waters of corruption in order to be conveniently counted among the very best in the Nigerian judiciary,” the CJN noted.
“You must redouble your effort because onus is on you to fasten belt and roll up sleeves to face the challenges head-on,” Tanko added.
Among sworn in are Justice Adebukola Banjoko of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, who had on May 30, 2018, sentenced the former Governor of Taraba state, Jolly Nyame to a maximum of 14 years without an option of fine. Similarly, on June 12, 2018, Justice Banjoko convicted former Governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye and sentenced him to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of criminal breach of trust and two years’ jail term for criminal misappropriation.
Another is Lagos popular judge in the Special Offences and Domestic Violence Division, Justice Sybil Nwaka Gbagi, who contributed enormously in the adjudication of criminal cases that abuses the rights of children and women in the state.
The names of the newly appointed appellate court Justices with their states of origin are:
Mohammed Danjuma (Niger State); Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo (Plateau); Abdul-Azeez Waziri (Adamawa); Yusuf A. Bashir (Taraba); Usman A. Musale (Yobe); Ibrahim Wakili Jauro (Yobe); Abba Bello Mohammed (Kano); Bature Isah Gafai (Katsina); Danlami Zama Senchi (Kebbi); Mohammed Lawal Abubakar (Sokoto); Hassan Muslim Sule (Zamfara); Hassan Muslim Sule (Zamfara); Kenneth Ikechukwu Amadi (Imo); Peter Oyinkenimiemi Affen (Bayelsa); Sybil Onyeji Gbagi (Delta); Olasunbo Goodluck (Lagos); Adebukola Banjoko (Ogun); Olabode Adegbehingbe (Ondo) and Bola Samuel Ademola (Ondo).