The Nigerian Law Society(NLS) at the weekend raised alarm over the poor conditions of service for judicial officers in the country and warned: “our bench(judges) must not die off”.
The President of NLS Kunle Ogunba SAN said this while mourning the death of three distinguished Jurists (one recently retired, two still in service) within days.
Ogunba who reinstated the commitment of NLS to fighting sustaining the integrity of the Judiciary called on other like-minded organizations to speak up for the Judiciary and the welfare of judges and magistrate.
He said: “Just a few days ago, I had cause to condole with the families and the legal community on the passing of our eminent jurists, one from the Supreme Court, Justice Chima Census Nwezeh, another from the Federal High Court, Justice Hoommuk Mallong, and now my heart breaks to once again condole with the family of the immediate-past Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri who passed on the morning of August 3rd, 2023;
Her lordship only just retired from the Bench in January 2023 and was perhaps one of the longest serving Chief Judges of any State; serving as Chief Judge for 15 years”.
The President of the newly formed association for Lawyers in Nigeria further noted that “for judges and magistrates to be dying in their 60s when they are nearing retirement or have retired is very unfortunate and unacceptable”.
Ogunba SAN then stated that;
“In the light of this; while we mourn, we at the Nigerian Law Society will activate a special committee to specifically advocate for the welfare of our colleagues on the Bench. The committee will also be a voice for and on behalf of the Bench, ensuring that our Judges and Magistrates are well catered for, projecting their concerns to government and to the Nigerian people”. The NLS President re-echoed as he said: “We will DEFEND OUR JUDICIARY!”
“At NLS; we appreciate that our Judges, Magistrates, Khadis and Customary Court Judges are human beings living amongst us, they have families, they have needs, they are under the same economic and social pressures as anyone else, the job they do is divinely established and creates a balance in our polity otherwise there will be absolute chaos if we didn’t have them amongst us;
The relevance of the Bench in our daily peaceful co-existence cannot be over-emphasized and in this light I call on other well-meaning organizations to join NLS in promoting a healthy and corruption free Judiciary”, he concluded.
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