Barristers & Solicitors
CJN Decries Challenges of Facilities, Basic Resources Faced by Judges in Nigeria

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola GCON (CJN) has expressed concern over the challenges of inconvenient courtrooms, as well as lack of basic resources being faced by Judges in the country to ensure optimal performance. This, he noted, has forced Judiciaries at State level to go cap-in-hand to various State Governors to solicit for funds in order to run their courts, thus, contradicting the constitutional principle of Separation of Powers.

The CJN who doubles as the Chairman, Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute bared his mind at the opening of a three-day retreat for Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal held at the Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.

Despite the constraints in the system, “I must equally urge us to look inward as Justices of Appellate Courts, considering the fact that the rate of conflicting judgements churned out from the Court of Appeal is worrisome”. The CJN stressed the urgent need to check this trend even as an election year approaches.

He reminded judicial officers of ethical challenges they are exposed to, saying that judicial officers are being held to highest standards of professional and personal conduct.

“My Lords are therefore, enjoined to uphold the integrity of the Judiciary by complying to the Code of Conduct as the drawbacks for non-compliance can be grave.”

The CJN expressed optimism that the retreat organised by the Attorney General Alliance Africa (AGA Africa), in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI), would discuss issues which help cross-pollinate ideas, in order to proffer strategies for the way forward.

Justice Ariwoola praised the AGA Africa under the leadership of the Executive Director, Karen White, Director Marcus Green and their team, for organising the retreat in collaboration with the NJI under the leadership of Hon Justice Salisu Garba Abdullhi.

In his opening remarks,  Director AGA Africa, Mr Markus Green said the retreat was timely, as talks around judicial reform have been going on in recent months, with regard to judicial performance, accountability, and efficiency.

As Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Justices, he said they play an important role in maintaining peace and prosperity within a country, by adjudicating conflicts in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

“You also play and important role of guiding all lower courts’ interpretation and enforcement of the rule of law; ensuring that there is uniformity and discipline during dispensation of judgements.”

“The purpose of this retreat is to therefore, provide you with an opportunity to rethink the judicial system, in line with international best practices, by dissecting the pitfalls that are standing in the way of its progress and proposing new approaches, with a view to building a more accessible and sound justice system that protects the rights of all persons.