By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Wednesday, said he has okayed process for the appointment of new Judges to fill vacant seats in various divisions of the Federal High Court.
The CJN who spoke at the opening of the 33rd Annual Judges Conference in Abuja, maintained that enormous responsibilities bestowed on the court by the constitution, required that it had the full compliments of its judicial officers.
He said the appointment process was almost completed.
The CJN, whose speech was read by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said: “The Constitution has vested enormous responsibility in the Federal High Court.
“The court is undoubtedly one of the most strategic and significant arm of the judiciary and should be empowered with the right capacity to discharge its functions.
“To this end, I assure your lordships that the process of appointing judges to this court is under way and will soon be completed.
“The appointment of new judges is with a view to ensuring that the court enjoys the full complements of its judicial officers as stipulated by the constitution”.
While emphasising need for judicial officers across the federation to perform their functions diligently, Justice Onnoghen said the judiciary was committed to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.
On his part, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, expressed gratitude to the CJN for okaying request for new judges to be appointed to the FHC bench.
Auta earlier disclosed that there are currently 80 judges under the court, saying “our further desire to appoint 10 more judges is about 80% completed”.
Speaking at the commencement of the Judges Conference, Justice Auta said he was optimistic that the new judges would help to clear outstanding matters and reduce the number of cases on the docket of the courts.
Highlighting importance of the yearly conference, Justice Auta said: “It is a practice in the court from inception for judges to meet annually to appraise the activities of the previous year with a view to finding solutions to identified problems.
“In the process of finding solutions to identified problems, judges sincerely correct and apportion blames to their erring brother judges before they eventually rededicate themselves to the core values of our calling and profession.
“This has been the tonic and tool with which we enter the new legal year with more determination and vigour”.
Besides, Justice Auta who will bow out of active judicial service on Tuesday next week, a day he will clock 65 years, described the conference as a unique one to him, saying “it will afford me the opportunity to bid you all farewell as I retire after a successful judicial career”.
“The object of this conference therefore, is to critically discuss any issues confronting us as a court and find solution to them”, he added.