Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has challenged judges and lawyers to embark on individual self-cleansing and ensure they rid the judiciary of bad eggs.
According to the CJN, judges cannot take the lead with issuance of reckless ex-parte orders while lawyers too cannot take the lead with filing of frivolous suits and forum shopping.
The CJN, at the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, as the substantive Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) judiciary, said there is need for self-assessment.
“An occasion like this may be auspicious for self-assessment. It is by coincidence that this event comes at a time the Nigerian Bar Association is holding its 61st Annual General Conference tagged: ‘TAKING THE LEAD ‘’.
“The legal profession should indeed take the lead in all human affairs. However, the lead is at a price.
“We cannot take the lead when our courts issue ex-parte orders recklessly. We cannot take the lead when many litigants with support of their counsel engage in forum shopping.
“We cannot take the lead when counsel files a case before a court that they know lacks jurisdiction and the Judge proceeds to hear the case. We cannot take the lead when counsel files frivolous cases in our courts just for nuisance value or to buy time.
“Administration of justice is the bedrock of not only democratic or civilised societies, but it also extends beyond the borders of civilised nations. No society can afford to discard administration of justice.
“There is no regime in any country that can operate without a judiciary. No matter how primitive a society is, it must have its own mechanism for resolution of its disputes. Otherwise, that society will drift into anarchy, self-destruction and extinction.
“We must not only do self-assessment, we also need self-cleansing. All hands must, therefore, be on deck from both the Bar and the Bench to rid the legal profession of bad eggs.
“In recent times, I have caused, on a number of occasions, to warn Judges to desist from engaging themselves in unwholesome practices that will erode public confidence in the administration of justice.
“The rising number of cases filed in all our courts is a pointer that Nigerians have confidence in the justice system. The Bar and the Bench must guard that confidence and jealousy.
“The legal profession is the building under which we are sheltered. If we fold our hands and watch others destroy it or we participate in the destruction, it will collapse on us. We will then have no roof over our heads.’’