In a keynote address he delivered at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Conference for all Judges of the lower courts organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja, Onnoghen said judges, as impartial arbiters, must uphold the “rule of law, eliminate unnecessary delays and to dispense justice without fear or favour” to all parties in accordance with the law.
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Nkanu Onnoghen, yesterday, asked judicial officers of lower courts in the country, to desist from corrupt practices in order to align with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led anti-corruption battle.
Justice Onnoghen noted that the primary role of judges of the lower courts is to settle disputes in accordance with the provisions of the rule of law, adding that, “The performance of this onerous task depends on strict adherence to rule of law, the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, access to justice, integrity and independence of judiciary”.
The Acting CJN identified inadequate funding and corrupt practices as some of the major challenges hindering the smooth administration of justice and exposes the judiciary to a lot of criticisms.”
According to him, administration of justice is crucial to the effective running and stability of a democratic society as well as the peaceful coexistence of its citizens, without which, he said, the society will degenerate into anarchy.
While commending the judiciary for its innovative strides in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Onnoghen restated that ICT had improved access to justice.
“It is pertinent to note that an independent, strong, respectable and responsible judiciary is indispensable to the administration of justice and to have such an institution, we must adhere to the oath of office and the code of conduct for judicial officers”, Onnoghen stated.
Earlier, NJI Administrator, Justice Roseline Bozimo said if the lower courts must serve as veritable instruments for justice and peace in a democratic society, it must continually demonstrate deep foresight for productivity, exceptional capacity and remarkable courage in the defence of constitutionally guaranteed individual and institutional rights.
She said the nation’s judiciary has witnessed its low and high moments in the last 16 years of democratic rules, adding that with the developments, it has shown that the judiciary would rather uphold the rule of substantial justice rather than technicalities of law.