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Times Are Perilous, Only Constitution, Not Public Opinions Would Be Used To Deliver Court Judgements – CJN

Posted by Thandiubani on Thu 05th Oct, 2023 -

Justice Ariwoola made the submission on Wednesday at the Supreme Court complex after swearing in 23 newly-appointed judges of the Federal High Court.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has said that public opinion cannot be used to deliver court judgements.
According to him, all judgements of the court must be based on the constitution and not public opinion.
Justice Ariwoola made the submission on Wednesday at the Supreme Court complex after swearing in 23 newly-appointed judges of the Federal High Court.
He told the judges that they must not be swayed by public opinions no matter how strong as such opinions can’t supersede the provisions of the country’s constitution in the determination of legal disputes in court.
In his words, “Several vitriolic attacks are regularly heaped on the judiciary; it is, however, crystal clear that public opinions, no matter how serious or weighty it might be, cannot override or supersede the constitution of the country which we apply in deciding each case.”
The CJN further warned the new judges to ensure they live above board as the National Judicial Council (NJC) would not hesitate in taking disciplinary actions against any judge found wanting.
Justice Ariwoola cautioned the judges not to use their offices to amass illegal wealth through corrupt practices or engage in any other form of dishonest actions.
He said, “Whatever wrongdoing that emanates from any form of indiscretion and abuse of office will, in like manner, be used to conscientise, chastise and thoroughly sanitise the same conscience that you may have refused to listen to.

“Appointment to the bench is not an appointment to wealth, vainglory, dishonest disposition or ostentatious lifestyle through corrupt acquaintances.

“The searchlight of the National Judicial Council beams brightly on all judicial officers across the country. The NJC should never, either by omission or commission, be mistaken for a toothless bulldog.

“It can bark fiercely and as well bite deeply and aggressively, too. Our radar is sophisticated enough to detect every form of corruption and wrongdoing by judicial officers; and we will not waste a moment in taking the necessary action to fish out the bad eggs.

“The remoteness of your location of adjudication can never blur our sight on you. We have put in place the right machinery to capture and document your conduct. So, be careful and take heed, or else, you may end up regretting ever being appointed a judicial officer. Though, we don’t wish you such, anyway!”
While stressing the delicate nature of the job of the judges, the CJN urged them to be fair and impartial to all in delivering justice.

“You must be impartial, fair to all, and apply justice in all your undertakings. The times that we are in, are quite perilous, so we need judicial officers who are calculative, honest, objective and dispassionate in all ramifications.

“Thus, your appointments to the bench at this crucial period of our national history are not by accident but by divine ordination,” he added.

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