The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Monday, charged judicial officers in Nigeria to work assiduously towards sustaining public confidence and trust reposed in the judiciary.
“As sturdy and indispensable pillars of democracy, we must do all within our power to guarantee the sustenance of the public confidence reposed in us, discharging our duties without fear, favor, affection or ill-will” Justice Ariwoola stated.
The CJN gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the 2023 All Nigerian Judges’ Conference, in Abuja.
In a bid to gain and sustain public trust and confidence, the CJN, submitted that judicial officers must distance themselves from all forms of indiscretions and ventures capable of bringing the judiciary to disrepute.
“My Lords, the importance of the foregoing cannot be overemphasized since what we do now will invariably determine the legacy we leave behind.
Justice Ariwoola described the conference as a “convergence of the most brilliant minds and mainstays of hope and order in the society” adding that the conference primarily serves the dual purpose of stocktaking and visioneering.
The CJN expressed dismay over the way decisions of the Court are treated with orders of the Court being flagrantly disobeyed.
“While there is no justification for this, it is impossible to divorce this unsettling development from the perceived image of the Judiciary as a mere appendage of the other arms of government, expected to do their bidding at all times and incapable of making decisions devoid of predilection.
He exuded confidence that the Conference, which is the first since the commencement of the new administration, will come with an improved disposition towards the welfare of the Judiciary especially as it pertains to the protracted issue of its independence as well as a strong desire to foster healthy and productive relationships among all three arms.
“It is my hope that the Conference will help drive robust discussions between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary on fostering mutual respect for one another and also on strengthening synergies devoid of any subterfuge.
“It will equally afford us the opportunity to unravel the issues already identified, the bulk of which holds grave repercussions for Nigeria’s polity.
“It is also my firm belief that this interface will reaffirm across the board, our commitment to upholding the tenets of Democracy and the Rule of Law therefore bolstering the trust and confidence of the citizenry in the operationality of the government” Justice Ariwoola stated.
In his welcome address, the Administrator, National Judicial Institute, Hon. Justice Salisu Abdullahi, said the Conference provides a platform to give judges the acclaim for their unrelenting devotion to prospering the ends of justice, and for their conspicuous role in nation building.
Secondly, he said the Conference affords Judges the opportunity to critically appraise happenings and developments in the course of the year, especially those that greatly impacted the performance of their functions and which holds great implications for the Judiciary by extension.
“In the same vein, while it is a cardinal rule of natural justice that no one should be a judge in his own cause, this Conference offers an apposite exception to this since it allows judicial officers to evaluate and critique themselves, Abdullahi said.
The goal of such evaluation, he said, is to enable advancement and growth within the Judiciary through the conclusions that will be reached and strategies that will be devised from robust discussions led at the Conference.
He stated that the theme of the Conference; “STRENGTHENING JUDICIAL COMMITMENTS TO THE RULE OF LAW AND DEMOCRACY”, will afford Judges the opportunity to recharge, recalibrate and re-strategize