By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Monday, maintained that Nigerians deserve a fearless and independent judiciary that is completely insulated from external manipulation.
The CJN, in a keynote address he presented at the opening ceremony of the 2017 refresher course for Judges and Kadis, held at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja, described independence of the judiciary as one of the foundations of democratic values.
He said it was imperative for Judges across the federation to dispense Justice without fear or favour.
“It is therefore our collective responsibility to remain committed in promoting the independence of the judiciary for impartial administration of justice”.
The address was read by the second highest ranking Justice at the Supreme Court, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed who represented the CJN at the event.
He urged participant at the refresher course to remain steadfast in tackling the challenges of inefficiencies in operation of courts, saying Judges must shun all forms of corruption capable of exposing the judiciary to public opprobrium.
“We must all put our hands on deck to maintain and observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and respect for the third arm of Government is sustained”, he added.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Administrator of the Institute, Justice Roselin Bozinmo, said the theme of the refresher course was modernising Judicial Practice and Procedure.
She said the theme was directed towards ensuring that Judges adopt new trends and judicial best practices and procedures in adjudication of cases at our various courts, thereby assisting them to enhance the performance of their constitutional responsibilities.
“For the Nigerian Judiciary to remain the hope everyman, we must be dynamic by keeping in-tune with modern techniques in the administration of law and justice.
“A judicial officer well versed in modern practice and procedure is of great benefit to the judiciary and the larger society. Thus there is a need for our judicial officers to be abreast with current topical issues in the fields of ICT”, Justice Bozimo added.
She further urged Judges to explore the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, mechanism as a modern trend in administration of justice particularly in civil matters, including commercial cases, land and family case, among others, saying it would go a long way in curtailing delays in our courts.