By IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloma Muhktar, yesterday, expressed her determination to flush out corrupt judges from the judiciary, saying judges must be men of probity and impeccable character.
However, the CJN, who stated this while administering oath on 12 newly appointed justices of the National Industrial Court, NIC, said her decision to boot out erring judicial officers should not set-off the panic button among judges, as no baseless or malicious petition against any judge would be entertained.
She said: “The extent to which prevalent societal currents in recent times have engulfed the Judiciary demands great concern. As you are well aware and as I have reiterated on so many occasions, we have a vision of a justice system that is simple, fast and efficient.
“It must be responsive to the needs and yearnings of the citizenry. If the public loses respect for the Bench, the society may gradually be creeping back to the days of jungle justice as less and less persons and institutions will be willing to entrust their disputes to us.
“As judicial officers, series of temptations will surely come but the ability to resist them will definitely stand you out and earn you a lasting reputation. You must be reluctant in condescending from your lofty positions to acquire and hoard wealth by all possible means.
“You must also ensure that you are men of probity and of impeccable character. No aspect of your conduct should give cause for concern. You must all show the highest sense of discipline, honesty, integrity, diligence and dedication to duty as well as good behaviour.
“Except for good reason; Judicial Officers must be punctual and regular in court attendance and maintain official hours of the court by sitting at 9: 00 am. A situation where some of our judges commence the business of the court after 9: 00am is unacceptable.”
Imploring the new judges to guard against disobedience of any court order, in line with the oath they took yesterday, the CJN said they should not shy away from taking a firm position against any member of the public or even the bar that colluded to flout court orders.
“It is hoped that in the discharge of your duties, you will apply the law in all fairness with good conscience without fear of harassment as no baseless or malicious petition against any judge will be entertained.”