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Always defend integrity of judiciary, Acting CJN tells new S-Court Justices

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……seeks media corporation, says judiciary open to enquiries

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA- The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Monday, administered oath of office on two new Justices of the Supreme Court.

President Muhammadu Buhari elevated the two jurists- Justices Sidi Dauda Bage and Paul Adamu Galinje to the apex court bench, following recommendations by the National Judicial Council, NJC.

The duo were formally serving at the appellate rung of the Nigerian Judiciary.

While swearing them in on Monday, the Acting CJN, Justice Onnoghen, charged them to always defend the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.

He noted that they joined the Supreme Court “at a time when the third arm of government, the Judiciary is witnessing very challenging times”.

“This should not make you despair, but rather spur you on to a greater commitment to defend the integrity and independence of the Judiciary”, the Acting CJN added.

According to him, “Failure to defend this institution would mean failing the citizen of this nation who have placed their hope in the Judiciary for the fair and equitable dispensation of Justice.

Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen taking the oath of office before the President  at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi ADESHIDA 10/11/2016

“My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, our democracy is evolving and we must all work towards ensuring that the rule of law is deeply entrenched in our nation. To do otherwise is an invitation to chaos and anarchy.

“We must constantly be reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting the Judiciary which by its constitutional mandate is the foundation of the rule of law in any society.

“Any threat to that foundation, including threat to its independence, portends danger for such society as the citizens will ultimate bear the brunt”.

He further urged the new jurists to always remain above board in the discharge of their duties, adding that they must strive at all times to be faithful to the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance they took.

He said the NJC was poised more than ever before to restore confidence in the Judiciary as well a defend its independence and integrity.

Similarly, Justice Onnoghen, on Monday, called for greater collaboration between the media and the Judiciary.

Decrying that recently, the relationship between the media and the Judiciary had been “frosty”, the Acting CJN who spoke at a workshop for Judicial Correspondents, said the me judiciary under him would be open to enquiries.

“I make bold to say that in these days of cutting edge technology, where news is instantly transmitted to the citizenry, the Press is a sounding board of public opinion and the relay between a judicial interpretation of the law and the grafting of such interpretation into the consciousness of citizens.

“Hence, the need for the Press to better regulate its reportage of court proceedings or matters that impact upon public confidence in the Judiciary becomes critical”.

In her welcome address, Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice R.P.I. Bozimo, said the workshop with the theme, ‘Empowering Judiciary Correspondents for Effective Reportage’, was borne out of the high premium placed on journalist and vital role they play in the society and particularly, in the Judiciary.

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