New Telegraph

New Legal Year: CJN spits fire, says Judiciary will no longer tolerate oppression, embarrassment again

 

…charges new SANs to watch their utterances, actions, company

 

Tunde Oyesina, Abuja

 

As the 2021/22 new legal year kicked up Wednesday, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad has stressed that the Judiciary will no longer tolerate any oppression or embarrassment as it had recorded in the past from any quarters again.

The CJN, who stated this in Abuja, noted that the judiciary has had enough of embarrassment of its Judicial officers and would not take kindly to repeat of any ugly treatment from security operatives.

He, however, warned that the silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for stupidity or weakness.

In a related development, while addressing the 74 Senior Advocate of Nigeria, whom their swearing was part of the new legal year programme, the CJN warned them to henceforth watch utterances, actions and company they keep, as such will become a subject of discourse at public opinion.

Speaking further on attacks on Judiciary, the CJN said that: “On a very sad note, I must say, we were jolted with embarrassingly news of the invasion of the official residence of one of our brother Justices, Hon Justice Mary Peter Odili on Friday October 29 by men suspected to be security operatives, acting on a search warrant.

“The said warrant was purportedly obtained from an Abuja Magistrate’s court under questionable circumstances.

“I must make it known to all and sundry that we have had enough dosage of such embarrassment and harassment of our Judicial officers across the country and we can no longer take any of such shenanigans.

“The silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for stupidity or weakness.

“By the nature of our work, we are conservative but not conquered species and should not be pushed further than this by any individual, institution or agency of the government.

“With time, those taking judiciary as a mere weakling will soon realize that it is from the calmest seas we often experience the fiercest storms.

“The time to oppress, suppress and intimidate judicial officers is gone.

“No one, irrespective of his or her status or position in the country, should test our will because the consequences of such unwarranted provocation will be too dire to bear.

“We shall begin to resist any clandestine attempt to silence or ridicule us to oblivion.

“Nigeria, to the best of my knowledge is not a lawless society. We should begin to do things that will project is favourably and rightly too, to the international community.

“No law permits anyone to invade, subdue or overawe any Nigerian citizen in his or her residence With a flimsy, fraudulently obtained search warrant.

“We are making efforts now to ensure that henceforth, every search or arrest warrant must be issued with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Judge of the respective state or federal high court as the case may be,” the CJN said.

Addressing the new SANs, the CJN said: “As Senior Advocates of Nigeria, you now carry humongous responsibilities on your shoulders.

“Immediately you step out of this courtroom, your behaviour and general conduct will now be publicly scrutinized by all those who come in contact with you. There is nothing like private life for you anymore, as everything you do or say will now be thoroughly discussed, analysed, assessed and judged in the court of public opinion.

“Watch your utterances, watch your actions and watch your company because you have already assumed the role of ministers of the court as you are now expected to assist the court to attain justice, equity and fairness in all ramifications.

“You must display enormous integrity, self-discipline and high standard of advocacy as custodians of justice. The privilege you are conferred with today does not, in any way, make you demigods because humility and self-control are the main tools to engage in weathering the storms of life.”

Speaking on the number cases considered in the last legal year, the CJN noted that the court considered a total number of 269 appeals, comprising of 139 civil, 102 criminal, and 28 political.

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