The immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed yesterday urged the Bar and the Bench to join forces to keep corruption out of the system. He said there is need to save the Judiciary from assaults on its integrity.
According to a report by The Nation, Justice Mohammed spoke at a valedictory court session in his honour at the Supreme Court, Abuja. He said:
“Our nation owes the Judiciary a debt of gratitude for standing firm in the face of contrary winds that threatened to blow our nation’s democracy off course.
During the run-up to the 2015 elections, our judicial officers withstood immense pressure in order to guarantee a level playing field and smooth transition of government, which ensured that we were spared a re-enactment of the June 12 saga.
In fact, the courts, thus securing the electoral process, disallowed so many frivolous matters aimed at truncating the electoral process.
I must particularly commend the Supreme Court for refusing to be intimidated or influenced by any candidate or political party, and I make no apologies for the firm stand that we took in our decisions.
I am proud to be a part of the Supreme Court which refused to be cowered into truncating the electoral process. I am proud to have headed this noble arm of Government and steering it through some very stormy waters.
I am proud of the Nigerian Judiciary. Indeed, the need to protect the institutions of the Judiciary from undue influence was a key concern of mine during my tenure.
Since assumption of office, I have worked to strengthen the integrity of our judicial institutions through the review of the judicial officers appointments process as well as innovations, which will enhance case disposition.
In addition, the engendering of an open door policy has enabled me to engage with other heads of courts and where necessary, the leadership of the Bar.
I believe that this continuous engagement will positively reinforce the primary position of the Judiciary in the governance of our nation,” Justice Mohammed, who acknowledged that the Judiciary was challenged, called for a concerted effort of members of the Bar and the Bench to restore the dwindling reputation of the judicial system.
He said his administration implemented several reforms, directed at ensuring the effectiveness of the system. He urged his successor, Justice Walter Onoghen, not to relent in efforts at ridding the Judiciary of all ills.
I wish to remind our judges that competence in the performance of judicial duties requires legal knowledge, skills, thoroughness and preparation.
Diligence requires consistency in the high standards of justice delivery that are required to optimally perform at your best. Conversely, it is clear that Judicial Competence is diminished and compromised when a Judge is debilitated by misconduct, corruption and other vices.
It is also important for your lordships, as judicial officers, to be as impartial as the blind face of lady justice. You must remember that impartiality is the fundamental quality required of a judge and the core currency of repute that engenders respect for the judiciary.”
Leave your views in comments box below.