By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has asked judges across the federation to outlaw any custom or tradition found to be repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
He said the directive was aimed at ensuring the protection of basic human rights and freedom to which all human beings are entitled to, regardless of their gender.
Justice Muhammad spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2019 National Workshop for Area/Sharia/ Customary Court Judges, which held at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja.
Noting that the judiciary was the only arm of government vested with such powers, the Acting CJN enjoined Judges to deepen their knowledge in the customary laws of various communities so as to be able do justice on cases that are brought before them by litigants.
He said: “Let me urge the participants to ensure the protection of human rights by finding and giving expression to the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.
“In this regard, customs which are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience must be outlawed, as the judiciary is the only arm of government vested with such powers”.
Besides, the Acting CJN implored judges to dispense justice without fear or favour, noting however that the Nigerian judiciary is contending with over 250 language groups with different customs and cultures.
He cautioned judges to avoid acts that are capable of tarnishing the image of the judiciary.
“Your action and inaction, within and outside the temple of justice, must always be in consonance with the dictates of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, as this will further guarantee that justice is served to all manners of persons that visit your courts”, he added.
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice R.P.I. Bozimo, said the workshop was designed to avail judges of the lower court with the opportunity to cross fertilize ideas in different areas of law.
Bozimo said the theme of the workshop, “Improving the Quality of Justice Delivery in the Lower Courts”, was apt and relevant, saying it was tailored at strengthening and repositioning the Nigerian Judiciary to effectively perform its statutory role as well as improving the quality of justice delivery in the country.