By Onozure Dania
Lagos—The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, said that the 17 Justices of the Supreme Court were enough to man the court as what they need was leave of court to decongest cases and not the creation of more courts.
He said that in other parts of the world, they don’t have up to the number of Supreme Court Justices like Nigeria, adding that the United States of America only has only nine.
Onnoghen said the appointment of more judges and justices and the creation of more judicial divisions of the courts were not the solutions to judicial delay and court congestion.
He spoke while commissioning, the remodelled and upgraded Court of Appeal, Lagos Division in company of Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Ambode, who commended the remodelled Court of Appeal, pledged the state’s support for the judiciary.
The president of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa led a host of dignitaries, including Supreme Court Justices George Oguntade (retd), Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Sidi Bage, Justices of the Sokoto, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Makurdi, Abuja, Jos and Yola Divisions of the Appeal Court.
Other dignitaries that were present at the commissioning of the Court are the presiding Justice of Lagos Division Court of Appeal, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, the chief Judge of Lagos State Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem and the Nigerian Bar Association President, A.B Mahmoud.
Onnoghen, who was responding to a call by Nigerian Bar Association NBA Vice President Monday Ubani who was representing the NBA for additional of three more courts at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal for fast dispensation of justice.
He said: “We always think we can solve the problem of congestion in our courts by appointing more Judges and Justices and creating more divisions of the courts, because the idea is that the more they are, the lesser the job or workload.
“But this has not been proven right. It has rather been proven wrong, because the more divisions you create, the more cases get filed. The solution doesn’t lie in multiplying the number of divisions and the Judges. The more judges and justices you appoint, the more cases that get filed, which points to the fact that we have really not hit the nail on the head.