The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has sworn in the 18 judges recently elevated to the Court of Appeal for swift administration of justice in the country and tasked the judges to up their games and ensure fair adjudication of cases before them.
The new sworn-in justices are Mohammed Danjuma (Niger State), Muhammad Sirajo (Plateau), Abdul-Azeez Waziri (Adamawa), Yusuf Bashir (Taraba), Usman Musale (Yobe), Ibrahim Jauro (Yobe), Abba Mohammed (Kano State), and Bature Gafai (Katsina).
Others sworn-in in Abuja on Monday are Danlami Senchi (Kebbi), and Mohammed Abubakar (Sokoto), Hassan Sule (Zamfara), Kenneth Amadi (Imo), Peter Affen (Bayelsa), Sybil Gbagi (Delta), Olasunbo Goodluck (Lagos), Adebukola Banjoko (Ogun), Olabode Adegbehingbe (Ondo), and Bola Ademola (Ondo).
Addressing the newly judges, the CJN noted that the rise in the number of judges been sworn for the court showed that level of task before the senior lawyers and the development depicts the country’s current situation.
According to him, the last time we swore in a large number of 12 Justices was on Monday 5th November 2012. Today’s ceremony is an indication of the times that we are currently in.
He added that it was important for the justices to put in their best effort, remain patriotic and work assidioulsy in justifying their elevation to the Court of Appeal.
“Several novel crimes are being committed in the country that have now made litigations to go on a steady rise. No court in the land is spared of this. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever-rising in response to the challenges of the time. This underscores the undisputed fact that Nigeria ranks among the most litigious countries in the world.
“The onus is on you to fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on. You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants. As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity. You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court of Appeal”, the CJN added.
Furthermore, tanko cautioned the senior lawyers against gifts and honorarium, saying they must hold their heads high and at all times resist juicy, irresistible temptations, saying accepting such could compromise their integrity and influence outcomes of cases before them.
The CJN said that their reputation and integrity matter much, adding that their elevation to the Court of Appeal has increased the level of scrutiny on their conduct and disposition.
According to him, 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.
“Your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame in life. Let me point out unambiguously that in life, gifts and wealth that are not worked for, which are by extension, undeserving, are always wrapped in calamity and destruction.
“Flee from them and keep your heads high above the murky waters of corruption so that you can be conveniently counted among the very best in the Nigerian judiciary. If you were hitherto 50 per cent under public scrutiny, I can assure you now that it has risen to 100 per cent, by virtue of this elevation to the Court of Appeal. The tempo and rate of public assessment of your conduct and disposition will now assume astronomical rise”, Tanko said.