By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ADO-EKITI— THE Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, as well as his counterpart in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, yesterday, harped on the need to develop the judiciary, saying attempts to weaken it would render the arm impotent with the attendant consequence. They noted that any nation desirous of growth and development would encourage virile and strong judiciary.
They said this during the commissioning of the ultra-modern Ekiti State Judiciary Complex in Ado-Ekiti built by Governor Fayose and named after the first Chief Judge of the state and Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye.
Legal luminaries at the event include Chief Judge of Ekiti, Justice Ayodeji Daramola; Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, Chief Makanjuola Esan, SAN, chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ado branch, Mr. Gbemiga Adaramola and Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
Judiciary must dispense justice without fear—CJN
Represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olu Ariwoola, Onnoghen said all the arms of government must work towards entrenchment of the rule of law and ensure efficient and effective justice delivery in Nigeria.
He said: “The judiciary must rise up and dispense justice without fear, favour or ill-feeling. Judges must give quality judgements and rise up to the challenge of interpreting the laws of the land for the stability of our nation.
“In doing this, the executive arm must provide an enabling environment for the judicial staff to discharge their duties.
“When we are thinking of how to build democracy through effective justice delivery, the budget to the third but most dangerous judicial arm was falling thereby depriving it the needed facilities to function.
“We want to salute Governor Ayodele Fayose for this feat and we appeal to other states of the federation to replicate this kind of state-of-the-art facility in their domains to make our judicial staff comfortable in discharging their duties.”
Judges being muzzled—Fayose
Also speaking, Fayose said the event of the recent past when judges were being muzzled by the All Progressives Congress-led federal government had created fear in the judiciary and make some Judges timid to give judgement against the government at the centre.
He said: “Judiciary, as our hope and refuge, must stand up for us. Don’t fear to give judgement. I said this when President Muhammadu Buhari came on board that this government will be vindictive. What they wanted is for judges to fabricate judgements in their favour and this must not happen if this democracy is to survive.”
Expressing worry over the dearth of Judges in Ekiti, Fayose said: “We have only 11 Judges in Ekiti judiciary out of which there was only one female. This is wrong and unacceptable to us.
“Some of our judges have retired and the NJC has failed to replace them. What have we done wrong? Is Ekiti no longer part of Nigeria? What have we taken from them? Don’t let our people think this was deliberate and political.”