BY NEWS DESK, SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 | 12:40 PM
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Kayode Ariwoola on Wednesday swore in nine Justices of the Court of Appeal.
Ariwoola while administering the oath of office to the new judges, said:”the level of public scrutiny of your conduct will, henceforth, assume astronomical dimension because you have willingly taken up appointment that will strategically place you perennially in the eye of the storm.
“The tempo and rate of public assessment of your conduct and disposition have also instantaneously assumed unprecedented spike from this moment.
“You must redouble your effort and dialogue properly with your conscience in order not to fall out of the grace of the Almighty God and the Nigerian people who are curiously looking up to you.
“It takes nothing to join the crowd but it takes a lot to stand alone with good conscience’’, he admonished.
He said that the ceremony was an indication of the times that we are currently in as several novel crimes are being committed in the country that have now made litigations to go on a steady rise.
“Political cases, especially, are taking a monumental toll on our dockets, indeed, the times we are in are not pleasant, to say the least.
“No court in the land is spared of this. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever rising in response to the challenges of the time.
“This underscores the undisputed fact that Nigeria continuously ranks among the most litigious countries in the world.
“I strongly believe it is high time we began to imbibe the culture of less litigation and more of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms: so that our courts can be freed of unnecessary burden and depletion of both human and material resources’’.
He said the onus squarely rests on the Lordships to fasten their belt and roll up their sleeves to face the challenges head-on.
The CJN charged them to redouble their pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants.
“As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity.
“You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the court of appeal so that you can subsequently earn an elevation to the supreme court to further actualize your dreams.
“Many high-profile cases would definitely come to you on appeal; and they may likely come in some juicy and irresistible gifts that are often intended to dent your reputation and integrity.
“I urge Your Lordships to flee from such disguised temptations because your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame in life.
The new appellate court Justices are: Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun from Kaduna State, who was appointed a High Court Judge on May 24, 1999; Binta Fatima Zubairu from Kaduna State, appointed a High Court Judge on Oct. 31, 2001.
Others are Peter Obiora from Anambra, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on Jan. 17, 2005, Justices Okon Abang from Akwa Ibom , who was appointed a High Court Judge on June 22, 2009.
Others are Asma’u Musa Mainoma from the Federal Capital Territory, appointed High Court Judge on February 1, 2013; Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu from Oyo State, who became High Court Judge on June 26, 2014; and Jane Esienanwan Iyang from Cross River State, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on February 12, 2015.
The rest are Hadiza Rabiu Shagari from Sokoto State, who was elevated to the High Court Bench on February 12, 2015; and Paul Ahmed Bassi from Borno State, appointed to the High Court on July 14, 2017.
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