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Remain faithful to the law, Constitution, CJN counsels judges

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Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Kayode Ariwoola has urged judicial officers to remain faithful to the law, the Constitution and their oath of office in the discharge of their responsibilities.

He also warned them against unethical practices.

Justice Ariwoola spoke yesterday at the oath taking ceremony of 22 new justices of the Appeal Court and 12 judges of the FCT High Court.

He said: “Today’s ceremony is an indication of the perilous times that we are in, which has resulted in an upsurge in litigation. Several unfathomable crimes are being committed in the country, aside from the usual political matters that have made litigations to go on alarming rise.

“No court in the land is spared of this litigation deluge, as it were. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever increasing in response to the challenges of the time. This underscores the fact that Nigeria is fast emerging as a frontline crime-infested country that we all have to urgently curtail.

“The enormous task of cleaning the Augean stable rests squarely on Your Lordships. So, you must hastily fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on. In other words, you should hit the ground speeding at a supersonic velocity, and not just running. You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the sprawling community of litigants.

“As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity. In the next couple of months, we shall be having two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. As usual, the courts will be besieged with plethora of petitions.

“It is our statutory duty to hear all matters that come before us and adjudicate according to the laws of the land. We must not falter; and we must not tread the path of infamy.

“Yes, it is true that we cannot please everyone through our actions and work, but with the right application of the law and the Constitution of the land, which we all have collectively pledged to uphold, we can go a long way to do those things that our conscience will be very proud of, and the generality of Nigerians will equally be happy about.

“Every position we attain in life always avails us that unique opportunity to do something novel and impactful, especially if there was any previous act of wrongdoing or misapplication of discretion”.

To the High Court judges, Ariwoola said: “We don’t need any fortune teller to tell us that the times we are in, are quite perilous and ominous, too.

“So, we seriously need judicial officers with the right character content that are equally calculative, honest, objective, dispassionate, and immensely humble, to take us to the highest pedestal of image and reputation rating.

“Your appointments to the bench at this crucial and challenging time of our national history are not by accident but by the divine will of the Almighty God. You should be led by wisdom and guided by your conscience on this solemn voyage of self-actualisation”.

Among the justices of the Appeal Court is Justice Olukayode Adeniyi who penalized the Department of State Services (DSS) for unlawfully detaining ex-Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. Also among the 22 is Justice Eberechi Nyesom Wike, wife of the FCT minister.

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