By Olalekan Awojodu
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria(BOSAN) on Monday called on the Nigerian Judiciary to champion the Nigerian renaissance.
The call was made by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN at the new legal year celebrations of the Court of Appeal in Abuja. In a short speech he delivered on behalf of BOSAN, Adegboyega said: “May i reiterate that the Judiciary must not lose its voice or be silenced at any point. The body of benchers will stand firm to ensure that the Independence of Judiciary as enshrined in the Constitution is upheld,”
The President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata echoed the same sentiments, saying ‘No one is safe if there was no Justice’.
He said: “Our Court should ensure peace in the nation and discouraged any forms of compromise, mushroom injunctions or anything that will bring the Judiciary into disrepute,” Akpata noted further.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban Mensem. disclosed that in 2020/21 alone, about 2,169 appeals were dismissed while 942 were upheld by the appellate court.
The figure was against the background of a total of 5,092 appeals and 9,249 motions filed in the court’s twenty divisions across the country in the last legal year.
The President stated this at the opening of its 2021/2022 maiden legal year ceremony held in Abuja headquarters of the Court.
While emphasizing on importance of the legal year ceremony, Mensem described the event as a traditional practice in the law jurisdictions across the country and globally.
According to her, it also affords the Court an opportunity to intimate the public about its major achievements and challenges in the course of discharging it’s constitutional obligation on the preceding legal year.
She said, ” I commend our justices who performed creditably, despite having only 70 justices working for most of the legal year.
“In comparison with the 2019/2020 legal year, the Court handled more appeals in 2020-2021 legal year. More significantly, a total of 528 judgments (16.97%) of the total number of judgments were delivered via the zoom Online platform,”
On reform to speed up the processes of the Court, Mensem noted that the proposed amendments to the Court of Appeal Act has been forwarded to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for onward transmission to the National Assembly.
Mensem who expressed worries over salary structure for Judicial officers and staff regretted that judiciary workers in the country have consistently ranked poorly when compared with other counterparts in African and Commonwealth countries.
Also speaking at the event, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN commended the President for the wisdom, leadership and giant strides that has Distinguished her tenure, assuring that as a way of enhancing efficiency of the judiciary, the federal government is again on the verge of revisiting the issue of welfare in the Judicial system.