The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed has urged the newly sworn-in judges to abide by their oaths.
The CJN said this while swearing-in Amina A. Augie and Ejembi Eko into the Supreme Court. He said they joined the apex court at a challenging period.
Justice Muhammed charged the new jurists to dispense Justice without fear or favour. He also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate for approving their appointments as recommended by the NJC.
“Now, more than ever, it is important to be firm, honest and steadfast in the discharge of your duties. While striving to emulate the greats of this court by enthroning the rule of law and respect for our courts.”
“My lords, ladies and gentlemen, this ceremony takes place against the backdrop of peculiar circumstances for the third arm of the government of our beloved nation. It bears reminding that the powers of this court and, indeed, all courts, lie in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
“The constitution is the ultimate repository of the consent of the people and remains the sovereign mandate that forms the bedrock of an independent judiciary.”
CJN On NJC vs Indicted Judges
Meanwile, the CJN has disclosed that the NJC was confronted with proof of evidence against some of the indicted judges. This is why it asked them to step down.
The NJC had insisted that the Judges would not step aside as requested by the NBA and other pressure groups. However, it changed its position after it was shown evidence on the ground.
According to Justice Muhammed, the NJC took the new stand after the Attorney General of the federation said it will prsecute based on evidence.
He said the decision NJC took after its last meeting was borne out of its desire to preserve the independence of the judiciary. It had directed all the embattled Judges to desist from further carrying out any judicial function pending their trial.
“We proclaimed to the world that any judicial officer that is standing trial will cease to perform judicial functions. A common thread that runs through all Judiciaries is that judicial officers are traditionally accorded the highest dignity and respect by all.”
“This is because Justice is rooted in confidence. Where confidence in our Judges is undermined and independence eroded, it is the nation that ultimately suffers most. While true democracy is fatally undermined. We must not forget that we operate a constitutional democracy, which clearly prescribes the powers accorded to each organ.”
Justice Muhammed therefore stated that the judiciary will remain resolute in its bid to follow its constitutional roles. He said the third arm of government will uphold its independence and adjudicate with utmost fairness and Justice.