By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA——The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Wednesday, said Nigerians would soon appreciate reform measures he has put in place with a view to making the Judiciary more efficient and vibrant.
The CJN who spoke during a valedictory session organized for retired staff of the National Judicial Council, NJC, in Abuja, said he was determined to sanitize and enhance the system of justice administration in the country.
This was even as the retired Secretary of the NJC, Mr. Danladi Halilu, while commending the CJN, however urged him to beam his reform lens on lower courts in Nigeria so as to achieve meaningful success in the entire justice delivery sector.
Speaking at the event, the CJN said: “This event is designed to honour retired staff of the NJC to give them hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I hereby commend them for creating positive perception of judiciary.
“In no distant time, Nigeria will come to appreciate the role of the NJC. The nation’s judiciary will soon be better with all the ongoing reforms that have been put in place.
“The Judiciary and all the agencies under it should adhere strictly to the code of conduct, as the judiciary under my watch will not condone any act of deviance”.
Responding on behalf of retirees, the immediate past scribe of the NJC, Mr. Halilu said there was need for the lower courts to turn in their returns of cases to their various State Judicial Service Commissions and the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory.
He said: “The report on the returns of cases in respect of superior courts of record at the level of NJC has been very helpful to administration of justice.
“It is necessary for the various laws on administration of the pension of retired Judicial Officers in the Federation to be harmonised and the payment of pension of the State retired Judicial Officers be also made by the NJC.
“This will guarantee the security of officers, in particular of the state Ju dicial officers who in some states are hardly paid their gratuities and or pension after retirement from office.
“It is against this background that I acknowledge and applaud President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for increasing the funding of the Federal Judiciary in 2017 appropriation.
“This unprecedented allocation to the Judiciary by the Federal Government, among others, made it possible for NJC to pay the reviewed and harmonized pensions of retired Federal Judicial Officers, including the backlog of their arrears”.