By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – As the judiciary marks a new legal year, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Monday, talked tough, saying he was ready to wield the big stick against corrupt judicial officers.
The CJN, said he was committed to ensuring that the judiciary is efficient, effective and just.
He spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2017 national workshop for Secretaries, Registrars, Court Clerks, Protocol Officers, Bailiffs and Process Servers, held at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja.
Justice Onnoghen who discirbed the workshop as “very significant”, said it was aimed at empowering court employees to deliver diligent services to court users and the general public.
“It is important to mention that this category of support staff in the judiciary is indispensable in the administration of justice”, the CJN noted.
He said their attitude and conduct towards court users must be that of responsibility and accountability in order to boost public confidence in the judiciary.
According to the CJN, “The theme of this year’s workshop ‘Enhancing the Operational Capacity of Judiciary Staff’ is appropriate and necessary because the target audience at this workshop are the first point of contact with members of the public.
“As officers in charge of the day-to-day running of the courts, it is imperative that you display high ethical standards of behaviour and be guided by the Code of Conduct for Court Employees.
“let me state here that the judiciary is keen on setting out clear standards and establishing a result oriented institution for effective administration of justice.
“You must wake up to playing your part in the actualization of this goal. You must have the fear of God in all that you do, and not allow any aspect of your personal interest to conflict with your official duties.
“It is imperative for you to shun all form of corruption and its tendencies. Corruption has no place in the judiciary, the big stick shall spare no one, thus commitment to duty and honesty should be your watch word”, the CJN added.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice R. P. I. Bozimo, urged the participants to use the workshop as an opportunity to enrich their knowledge, boost their intellectual capacity and get accustomed to the best global practices for optimum performance.
The NJI boss also enjoined the participants to be proactive in the discharge of their duties, saying they should curtail delay in the dispensation of justice.
Justice Bozimo maintained that the theme of the workshop was a testament that the judiciary is focused more than ever on ensuring it functions optimally by improving the competence of its staff in all cadres.